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The Internet The Almighty Buck

Cory Doctorow Says DIY Licensing Will Solve Piracy 189

Posted by samzenpus
from the well-that-was-easy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The founding editor of Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow, has written a report about 'do-it-yourself' digital licensing, which he's touting as the panacea for piracy. Doctorow's solution for content creators is two-fold: get a Creative Commons license and append some basic text requiring those who re-use your work to pay you a percentage of their gross income. Doctorow refers to this as the middle ground between simply acquiring a Creative Commons license and hiring expensive lawyers for negotiations. He calls do-it-yourself licensing 'cheap and easy licensing that would turn yesterday's pirates into tomorrow's partners.'"
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Cory Doctorow Says DIY Licensing Will Solve Piracy

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  • Paying pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BSAtHome (455370) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:03AM (#27949547)

    So, you want pirates to pay royalties. I always thought that pirates we pirates because they did not want to pay the royalties. What another license makes for a difference is beyond me. If they do not want to pay, they simply will remain pirates.

    • Re:Paying pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:13AM (#27949609) Homepage

      When he says pirates, he means people out to make money using material they have no rights to reproduce otherwise. People who download and share things freely are completely without obligation.

      I think most people are in agreement that it wouldn't catch on simply because there aren't enough teeth in it. For people to take things seriously these days, a gentleman's agreement isn't enough. We need blood, gore and violence before anything is taken seriously.

      It's a "good idea" until you realize that it would be of no interest to media publishers who are the REAL people behind all this copyright mess in the first place. The plan here is to skip around these publishers by giving everyone non-exclusive rights to publish copyrighted works. So big publishers won't go for it. Little publishers might give it a go but the distribution won't be there and neither will the marketing muscle of the big establishment. And if big publishers have anything at all to do with it, it would be in trying to block it or stop it in some way.

      • Re:Paying pirates (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:52AM (#27949869)

        When he says pirates, he means people out to make money using material they have no rights to reproduce otherwise. People who download and share things freely are completely without obligation.

        Piracy in the media form is a myth. Piracy in taking a ship and killing the people and stealing the cargo is piracy.

        What is at issue here? Content? No. The content is available in many, many forms. From free over the air to renting the property for a period of time.

        The content sucks. Not a value judgement on the quality of the programming, but a technical one. I've got about $3,000 invested in a TV and a blu-ray player, and I feel ripped off. I can't find 1080p content. Most movies I get from netflix use about 1/2 of the height of my 16x9 screen. I had to abandon cable because the quality was so poor. Actually, DVDs or free downloads of rips from DVDs are about the sweet spot for price/quality.

        Until the people can figure out a way of distribution and quality content, I don't think lawsuits are a viable business model.

        Last night, I watched a music DVD and it had pictures of the band's _album covers_. They were actually still worth looking at. That ended in the mid 80s with the advent of the CD. I have boxes and closets full of CDs that I've been giving away to people over the years because its not worth my time to hunt for them (they are all on harddisks now).

        Bah, yet another /. article on this crap. I guess it won't change until it changes.

      • Re:Paying pirates (Score:4, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:55AM (#27949893) Homepage Journal

        Little publishers might give it a go but the distribution won't be there and neither will the marketing muscle of the big establishment.

        Sublime got their first commercial album exposure through IUMA... but whatever.

        Also, I am too lazy to go look it up, but bands without album sales have got songs into the top ten since the rules were changed to permit it... perhaps that was a UK story? So your complaints about distribution and advertising are just battered customer syndrome. Neither artists nor listeners need major labels. Or, in fact, labels.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Pharmboy (216950)
          Neither artists nor listeners need major labels. Or, in fact, labels.

          <oblivious>
          But if an album doesn't have a label, how do you know what songs are on it?
          </oblivious>
        • Dude, labels are great. Small labels are great I mean. It's nice to have smaller organizations that can bring together artists in the common cause of some vision or style or sound. Also they are good because they will have producers who understand the particular niche of that label. Anyone can put out a demo, but you really need to work with someone who is good at production and mastering to get that professional sound (not style wise, but audio quality wise). Plus, a label can support its own studio,
      • Re:Paying pirates (Score:4, Insightful)

        by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday May 14, 2009 @09:05AM (#27949957)

        Besides, the "percentage of the income they make from it" would essentially be a free license for anyone to reproduce the work as much as they want without any restrictions, as long as they don't do it for profit. "Hey, post our whole feature film or piece of software to Youtube or anywhere else, just as long as you offer it for free!" would go over like a lead zeppelin with just about any content producer.

        I like Doctorow's science fiction. But he's really beyond the pale on this one. Even a science fiction writer shouldn't be THAT far removed from reality.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by mad flyer (589291)

          Doctorow is somekind of Paris Hilton for the geeks.

          He had his 15 minutes of fame. And now you continue to see him babling around like if he was to be listened like a wyse oracle of some kind.

          He should do like the real one, stick to infrared war-in-the-gulf style porn tapes, product launch for crappy perfumes or the new equally crappy Audi of the week.

        • Re:Paying pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Rary (566291) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @09:51AM (#27950409)

          Besides, the "percentage of the income they make from it" would essentially be a free license for anyone to reproduce the work as much as they want without any restrictions, as long as they don't do it for profit.

          That's exactly the point. CC is intended for content creators who actually want their content to spread around. The problem that Doctorow is addressing is the hesitation that some people have to going with a CC license because they don't want people taking advantage of it to profit off the work without cutting the content creator in on the deal.

          This solution is not intended for the major Hollywood studios. This is intended for the content creators who want to reside in the middle ground between absolute free-for-all and totally restricted licensing — and avoid having to hire a lawyer.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            How is this better than just dual licensing CC-BY-NC-SA & then selling commercial licenses?

            • by Rary (566291)

              How is this better than just dual licensing CC-BY-NC-SA & then selling commercial licenses?

              You don't have to go through the hassle of actually selling the commercial licenses, including hiring a lawyer to write up the license.

              Your suggestion is also an option, but for those who just want to put it out there and not do any further license negotiation, this is the way to go.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Mr. Slippery (47854)

          Besides, the "percentage of the income they make from it" would essentially be a free license for anyone to reproduce the work as much as they want without any restrictions, as long as they don't do it for profit.

          Yes. It's just like a musician's ability to play a song all they want without paying the songwriter, as long as they're playing for free. It's only when the performance is commercial in nature that the songwriter has to be paid mechanical royalties. Dylan gets his nickel if I play "Tangled Up in

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by colmore (56499)

        If I was a manufacturer of, say, illegal DVDs, and I saw some Creative Commons License with a little addendum on it, I would immediately think to myself: "OK, cool, this guy can't afford even four or five hours of a lawyer's time."

        If pirates aren't going to pony up for licenses composed by corporate firms that are very capable of bringing suit, why are they going to respond to "pay me, please?"

        • They don't seem to care much about corporate copyright either, so you've lost nothing but gained:
          1) fans
          2) A way for legitimate small companies to redistribute your stuff, with some profits handed to you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625)
      Cory is projecting the ethics of his readers onto the rest of the piratsphere. It's a charming notion, but not very useful in the real world.
      • by smallfries (601545) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:29AM (#27949689) Homepage

        Yes but that's easy to do when you live in a blimp, blogging away high at the top of the piratsphere.

      • Re:Paying pirates (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @09:00AM (#27949921) Homepage

        Actually, all he's advocating is the old state of things. The casual swappers
        shouldn't be prosecuted, persecuted and litigated. The side effects of trying
        to squash all the little ants ends up creating more collateral damage than it's
        worth. It's far better to apply the old intent of the laws and the original
        pirate ethos.

        There was always a distinction made between those that just passed stuff
        around and those that tried to profit from it financially.

        The big problem of course, as others have said, is the fact that it is
        big media that has driven the recent changes in the other direction.
        They're the ones that want to make copyright perpetual and turn
        criminalize everyone. They will never go for this.

        • by sootman (158191)

          The side effects of trying to squash all the little ants ends up creating more collateral damage than it's worth.

          Agreed, but sadly, I think it's clear the *AA don't care.

    • Re:Paying pirates (Score:5, Informative)

      by eugene2k (1213062) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:50AM (#27949849) Homepage
      Actually, from what I've read, Corey doesn't claim that it will solve the piracy problem. He tries to tackle the problem of individuals creating derivative works without hiring lawyers to negotiate a license. For example if some person remixes a song, they either have to negotiate a deal with the record company and pay them royalties (and this involves hiring a lawyer to negotiate), or do it without hiring a lawyer, and thus be called a pirate. The latter is what Corey tries to address.
      • Re:Paying pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hijacked Public (999535) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @09:17AM (#27950053)

        You are on a short list of people who've read and understood the article. That list does not include Slashdot editors nor the AC who wrote the headline nor most of the people commenting here.

        The licensing makes sense for certain uses but I don't see much advantage over the current system apart from the 'self serve' aspect. Licensing a photograph (which is the area I'm familiar with) for non-exclusive use is pretty straight forward and nearly always I or the client has some mutually acceptable boilerplate agreement that covers everything. Exclusive uses are more difficult and usually involve an IP attorney, but I don't see where his self-serve license would grant exclusivity.

        Regardless, the biggest expense comes if you ever have to go to court to enforce a license, and that isn't changing here.

        • Regardless, the biggest expense comes if you ever have to go to court to enforce a license, and that isn't changing here.

          IT seams to me that hes missing a chance on this one, if he provided a basic framework for the licenses, defining terms, etc, then all the licenses would be sufficiently similar that once one gets tested in court companies will just pay up in future.

          With music its even more clear cut than software, whereas you can get away with distributing binaries because nobody can see the source, with music you can hear if a piece is being redistributed (if its so heavily remixed that you cant be sure then its probably

    • Re:Paying pirates (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chief Camel Breeder (1015017) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @09:12AM (#27950019)

      He's presuming that many commercial users of the product would pay the royalties if they could get a license without paying legal fees. They would cease to be pirates.

      I agree that this scheme has no effect on willful pirates. I don't think it's meant to address that. The Slashdot summary exaggerates that aspect.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Pirates, a summary [www.pown.it].

    • by Xest (935314)

      I think his idea isn't so much aimed at people who share and download, but at sites like The Pirate Bay.

      I'll admit I haven't RTFA, but I'm guessing the idea is that a ton of content would be available for anyone to use if they pay royalties, so for example, the guys behind TPB could go legit using this license by paying royalties from their ad-revenue.

      Effectively it'd make a way for new business ideas to be carried out without hassle. You could go home tonight and create your pay subscription site for the T

    • by Sloppy (14984)

      I always thought that pirates we pirates because they did not want to pay the royalties.

      That is pre-locked devices and DRM thinking. Nowdays, customers scream, "please take my money, but I am not using your piece of shit, totally broken beyond belief (not to mention untrustworthy and dangerous) playback device/software." Software, movie, and TV publishers are experiencing reduced sales for reasons totally different from users not wanting to pay; many of those users are desperate to shove money down the p

  • by montyzooooma (853414) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:04AM (#27949553)
    AFAIK what he's suggesting is already within the scope of the CC license. But it won't stop P2P/home copying. It won't really stop people selling copies of CDs or films out of their car boots either.

    At best it will just encourage a lot of people to sell other people's media under the guise of legitimacy, while kicking back something to the creators. I can't see the MPAA/RIAA agreeing to that.

  • Pirates don't pay (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jevring (618916)
    Why would a pirate, who currently doesn't pay for the work he/she redistributes, pay for a work with a license allowing him/her to do it? If the reason for not paying is that you don't want to pay, then you will not want to pay, regardless of the reimbursement model.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by downix (84795)

      Ah, because now you've moved from the Copyright law category to the Contract law category, which is by and far less compromized and much easier to enforce/more difficult to abuse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hairyfeet (841228)

      Because he isn't talking about the guy downloading from P2P as much as he is talking about artists like Danger Mouse [wikipedia.org] who can't sell their albums because greed has made sampling all but dead. Which frankly sucks. This of course was kinda the whole reason for HAVING a Public Domain in the first place, which was stolen from us by Disney to make sure that damned mouse will NEVER be free as long as politicians are corrupt.

      But the simple fact is the copyright laws have become SO long and SO nasty that pretty much

      • by russotto (537200)

        Cue the guy with the Ayn Rand quote.

        "Did you really think we wanted those laws to be observed?"... oh, fuck it, look it up yourself.

        There's no point in trying to find a middle ground while the other guys are moving the current situation further and further towards their extreme. Give them anything and they'll take it and then demand more, with nothing in return. May as well just declare them irrelevant and hoist the Jolly Roger.

  • Stone soup! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iYk6 (1425255) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:07AM (#27949579)

    Get a Creative Commons license, and append some basic text requiring those who re-use your work to pay you a percentage of their gross income.

    Anybody remember stone soup? In this scenario, it appears that the CC license is the stone.

    • Re:Stone soup! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RobBebop (947356) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @09:26AM (#27950131) Homepage Journal

      Anybody remember stone soup? In this scenario, it appears that the CC license is the stone.

      Yes! I remember stone soup! It's a great story. So that means Music is the carrots, Video is the potatoes, Writing is the chicken, and the Performers are all the herbs and spices that make the end dish taste fabulous.

      Only trouble is... stone soup is meant to take input from an entire village, while the artistic creations of the world are only contributed from a reasonably modest percent of the population. The fact that *everybody* can enjoy them creates sort of an imbalance (though, I guess that's where the "percentage of revenue" comes into play).

  • by mangu (126918) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:17AM (#27949625)

    Doctorow is a writer so his problem may be slightly different, but it seems to me that for much of the media industry today the problem is more of too high costs than too low income, no matter what "pirates" do.

    To make a standardized measurement, let's limit ourselves to one well-defined segment: 007. Look at this graph [wikimedia.org]. Investment in James Bond films has gone steadily up without a corresponding return in profits. The first 007 movie, "Dr. No", cost $1 million to make ïn 1962 and got $60 million in the box office, a 60:1 ratio. "Casino Royale" cost $100 million and got $600 million, ten times less.

    One could argue that James Bond jumped the shark, but in adjusted dollars "Dr. No" got about as much income as "Casino Royale", yet cost 1/16th as much adjusted for inflation. People are still paying as much to see James Bond today as they paid in 1962.

    The main problem, IMHO, is not reduced income for intellectual property owners, the problem is reduced creativity. They not only seem unable to create a character to replace 007, they also need to spend sixteen times as much to create the same level of special effects.

    • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:30AM (#27949703)

      One could argue that James Bond jumped the shark, but in adjusted dollars "Dr. No" got about as much income as "Casino Royale", yet cost 1/16th as much adjusted for inflation. People are still paying as much to see James Bond today as they paid in 1962.

      Actually, people are paying about 3 times more to see James Bond today than they did in 1962.

      Ref: http://www.bbhq.com/prices.htm [bbhq.com]

    • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:33AM (#27949723)

      The main problem, IMHO, is not reduced income for intellectual property owners, the problem is reduced creativity.

      Perhaps so, but you haven't shown such a thing.

      They not only seem unable to create a character to replace 007...

      Why would they? They have a good character that people like. Not replacing him isn't "reduced creativity", it's simply giving your fans what they want to see. Only a fool replaces something for the sake of replacing it.

      ...they also need to spend sixteen times as much to create the same level of special effects.

      Blatantly false. They need to spend sixteen times as much to create a lot more special effects. Now, maybe you believe that the movies don't need that level of special effects, which is a whole different topic. It is untrue, however, that the level of special effects is the same as it was back then. The budget has grown because the amount of special effects has grown.

      Furthermore, your logic as to the success of the movies is flawed. The industry isn't necessarily interested in maximizing their profit per dollar spent (although that's always nice), they're interested in making more absolute profit. Using the inflation-adjusted figures you provided, we can see that while the industry made $59 million in profits from Dr. No, they made $500 million in profits from Casino Royale. Even though their profit-per-dollar may have been less, they still made more money overall, which is what is desired.

      • by mangu (126918) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:48AM (#27949819)

        Using the inflation-adjusted figures you provided, we can see that while the industry made $59 million in profits from Dr. No, they made $500 million in profits from Casino Royale

        Perhaps I didn't make myself quite clear. "Dr. No" made $60 million in 1962 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, "Dr. No" cost $8.4 million and got $420 million in profits, "Casino Royale" cost $140 million and got $500 million in profits.

        Go to any industry executive and ask, is it better to get $420 milion in profits from a $8.4 million investment, or is it better to get $500 million in profits from a $140 million investment?

        • by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @09:03AM (#27949939) Journal
          Dr No is probably a bad example. They had no idea whether it was going to be a success. Contemporary films To Kill a Mockingbird and Lawrence of Arabia had 2 times and 15 times the budget respectively.
        • Go to any industry executive and ask, is it better to get $420 milion in profits from a $8.4 million investment, or is it better to get $500 million in profits from a $140 million investment?

          This is the movie industry. There are no profits, remember?

          Just royalty expenses paid to affiliate companies.

    • Options invest a lot of money in Bond movie with well know star(s), and you are practically guarenteed a return on your investment, or try a brand new movie with unknowns and hope for the best ...

      When one bad movie can kill a studio, they tend to play it safe...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by billcopc (196330)

      Reduced creativity is part of the problem, but another aspect is there is simply "too much creativity", in the sense that today, practically anyone can produce anything with very little investment. Those same eyeballs are being spread more thinly because there is so much goddamned content out there.

      There's also the disproportionate salaries in the movie industry, that were certainly nowhere near as distorted back then as they are now. Does it really "cost" 100 million to shoot a Bond movie, or does it cos

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by shark72 (702619)

        With regard to salaries, then vs. now:

        Elizabeth Taylor was paid $1MM to perform in Cleopatra. That's about $7MM in 2009 dollars. Very, very few female celebrities make more than $7MM per picture today.

        The film grossed $43MM, which is about $300MM today.

        Relative hyper-commercialization and hyper-glamorization is an exercise left to the reader. Sure, celebrities didn't have Twitter accounts in the 1960s and (with a few exceptions) didn't show up in naked photos. Yet the star-making machine was in full force,

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bondsbw (888959)

      I don't think your analysis is complete.

      Using your figures, we assume a 600% inflation rate since 1962 ("... yet cost 1/16th as much adjusted for inflation", applied to $100 million current dollars, yields a little over $6 million dollars or 6 times the unadjusted cost for "Dr. No"). That may seem a little high, but I just put the numbers in an inflation calculator (The Inflation Calculator [westegg.com]) and it's close: 679% inflation between 1962 and 2007. So, let's assume that figure.

      At 679% inflation, "Dr. No"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by east coast (590680)
      I think part of what you're missing in the 007 example is that home viewing wasn't a reality in 1962. So fans went to the movie house. Welcome to the age to digital media in the home... I wanted to see "There will be blood" but I really don't enjoy the movie house scene too much so I waited for it to come out on DVD (and have since bought the BluRay after I got my BR player). In my case I have lowered the box office numbers by not seeing it in the theatre but have increased the overall profits by actually p
    • by westlake (615356)

      They not only seem unable to create a character to replace 007, they also need to spend sixteen times as much to create the same level of special effects.

      The same level of special effects?

      That's ridiculous. The F/X in the Connery films is simplistic and obvious.

      The best moments come when the gadgets are real.

      Who hasn't wanted to pilot "Little Nelly?"

    • One could argue that James Bond jumped the shark

      The original James Bond, by Ian Fleming, was a parody of the "superspy" literature of the time. Adjusted for cultural inflation, James Bond was Austin Powers for a quieter time. James Bond is ALL ABOUT jumping the shark... and that has carried over to the movies right from the start.

    • by cowscows (103644)

      The "media industry" is a pretty broad term, and might not even be that useful of a grouping for this discussion, but either way I'm not sure that big budget movies are the best example. While it's certainly true that the costs of giant blockbusters has been increasing pretty steadily, there's whole sections of the media industry, and even the movie industry specifically, where costs have come down a lot, or at least stayed about the same.

      It doesn't cost any more to write a book now than it did before. If a

    • They not only seem unable to create a character to replace 007, they also need to spend sixteen times as much to create the same level of special effects.

      Have you seen "Dr. No"? The fanciest gadget Bond uses in that movie is pasting a hair to a door to see if someone uses it while he's gone. The movie was extremely modest in terms of production compared to today's movies which often end up being little more than an actor running around inside a CGI video game.

      The movie succeeded so well because it was a g

  • by iris-n (1276146) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:31AM (#27949705)

    What you are forgetting is that this is aimed to people who do want to paint the license, but can't. There are "pirates" who will just profit from another person's works, and there always will be. The idea is that you shouldn't be forced to be one of them.

    Take my case for example. I ran a small t-shirt store, whose drawings included, but were not limited to, characters of famous and not-so-famous movies, who were definitely copyrighted and/or trademarked. I did make money off them, and never paid the creators a dime. Why? The cost to get a license agreement with just one of the biggies would be enough to put me out of business. And their terms weren't suited to me as well. They wanted a huge upfront payment followed by a small per-unit cost.

    So, as a law-abiding citizen, I just went out of business? Of course not, I just didn't contact them and hoped that they wouldn't contact me.

    The terms that Doctorow proposes would suit my purpose just fine. And I would pay.

    Also, I don't think the big distributors would be against it. The distribution terms he proposes aren't advantageous to a big distributor. It wouldn't be fostering competition. And I doubt that the shop from around the corner can damage them.

    • by Garwulf (708651)

      Sorry, but as a business owner myself, I have to wonder - how did you know what their terms were without contacting them?

      Aside from which, I think your argument here regarding your business does come out as a cop-out. Just because you couldn't afford to pay the license fee to produce the shirts yourself, it doesn't mean that you had to resort to piracy. Surely there are wholesalers out there who sell those licensed shirts to vendors like yourself, without you having to produce them, or pay a license fee.

    • by westlake (615356) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @09:28AM (#27950159)

      The terms that Doctorow proposes would suit my purpose just fine. And I would pay.

      You didn't before.

      You flew under the radar.

      Why should anyone believe you will behave any differently now?

      The geek is always puffing smoke about the "failed business model." Meaning the one in which he is expected to cough up some cash.

      • The geek is always puffing smoke about the "failed business model." Meaning the one in which he is expected to cough up some cash.

        One of the best replies ever posted on Slashdot.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday May 14, 2009 @09:45AM (#27950351) Homepage Journal

      Take my case for example. I ran a small t-shirt store, whose drawings included, but were not limited to, characters of famous and not-so-famous movies, who were definitely copyrighted and/or trademarked. I did make money off them, and never paid the creators a dime. Why?

      Because you were not sufficiently creative to produce original designs for which people would pay, and felt entitled to profit from the work of others? Many of us would have no problem with you wearing the shirts, but selling them is pretty much indefensible. I wonder if Copyright shouldn't be extended indefinitely, but with derivative works permitted and protected immediately so that anyone is free to reinvent anything any time, but nobody is free to reproduce anything without permission ever. It would promote similar, competing works... But still prevent people from gaining from the labor of others. They would have to do something.

  • Won't work. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:34AM (#27949729)

    1. Most Piracy isn't a for profit business. It is just some one who downloads a bunch of pirated stuff, when he actually does buy a product he will post it online for the rest to pirate, combined with a few hackers to break any DRM to make sure what they get wont get others in trouble. But they do it to protect themselves because they don't want to pay for the software. Granted there is some people making money off of software piracy. However most of it is if any money trades hands is to cover cost.

    2. They already don't respect your license. Why would they respect this. It is like telling the wolves in the zoo if they don't eat the rabbits then they will get a good meal later, then place a bunch of rabbits in the wolf cage of hungry wolves. They have already convinced themselves that Software Piracy is good and some how they are heroes for fighting the man.

    3. After the fact enforcement, or in other words, if you don't do this and you are caught then we sue you. It is better to correct issues before it gets to that point. Though I am not a fan of DRM, DRM has probably saved a lot of people from getting sued and loosing a lot of money (on both sides) as DRM for the most part keeps the Honest honest. Sure it is a download patch away to breaking the DRM. However that is probably that one step too far that isn't worth it and they will just buy a copy. And no one bashing at the door and suing a guy for piracy of software that is stilled crippled.

    • by RobBebop (947356)

      2. They already don't respect your license. Why would they respect this.

      I have to disagree. Software pirates respect Creative Commons licenses. CC is a "free distribution" license. There isn't any way to distribute CC licensed material so that the person you give it to can't give it to all their friends for free.

      The argument here, if I understand it correctly, is bridging the gap between the Non-commercial license and the No-derivatives license.

      The fact is that MOST creative types that have an interest in profiting from their creations tend to distribute Non-Commercial A

    • All of your points disregard that this is an honor system, and they frequently work without any sort of enforcement whatsoever. You don't need 100% compliance either, you don't even get that with purely commercial works.

      Also, it's not like giving a choice between a non-commercial CC license and a commercial license without enforcement has much of a downside, as compared to only offering the CC license.

    • by Comboman (895500)

      DRM for the most part keeps the Honest honest.

      No, DRM annoys the Honest and is at most a minor inconvenience for the Dishonest.

  • Boing Boing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995)

    Cory Doctorow is not the founding editor of Boing Boing. Mark Frauenfelder is. Wikipedia gives a decent rundown:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boing_Boing [wikipedia.org]

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:43AM (#27949791) Journal
    If I wanted to produce something that used two pieces of music, charged at 10% of gross each, 10 different images charged at 5% of gross each, and some animation charged at 40% of gross, I need to pay 110% of my gross to the make this.
  • Hollywood accounting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by malx (7723) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:48AM (#27949821)

    This doesn't even work in licensing with proper commercial corporations like the record labels and film studios. It will fall foul of "Hollywood Accounting" [wikipedia.org]. Normally this is applied to rip off artists who are promised a percentage of profits (they find the company they've dealt with has made no profits, they've all been moved into a different company). This is slightly harder with gross revenue, but not much.

    • by RobBebop (947356)

      This was one of my first thoughts as well. Unless companies can track the real value that consumers spend on products and services, the opportunity for companies to lie about profits is much to high.

      When the IRS can't even figure out how to stop US Corporations from getting tax shelters to avoid paying their legal taxes, I'll never believe that organizations are going to honestly pay the suggested "percentage of income" that Doctorow is suggesting.

    • by Wildclaw (15718)

      Hollywood accounting uses "net income" to rip of artists. Cory is talking about "gross income".

      • by russotto (537200)

        Hollywood accounting uses "net income" to rip of artists. Cory is talking about "gross income".

        Hollywood has slightly less successful ways of cheating on the gross.

  • by Andy_R (114137) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @08:50AM (#27949847) Homepage Journal

    Here's a big problem with this idea... Let's imagine you're a photographer who uses this new system, and asks for 8% of gross. I'm a printer, and I want to use your work. I have to give you 8% of gross for a birthday card made from your work, 96% of gross for a 12 month calendar using your work and 11 of your friends work, and illustrating an encyclopedia would cost me many times more than gross!

    • by argent (18001)

      So you contact the human licensing the good and say "I'm making a calendar, and can't afford to pay 12 people 8% of the gross each, will you accept 1.5% (18% of the gross shared among 12 people)?".

      And if you're publishing an actual printed encyclopedia you ought to be able to afford actual lawyers.

    • Indeed. The obvious quick-fix for that would be to divide the total royalties up between all of the contributors, but that too opens up significant loopholes.

      Want to use a Britney sample in your new hip-hop album? Just sling together a little bonus track for the end of the album, using 99 other samples from 99 "close friends", then you only need pay Britney 0.2% royalties for her sample.

      I really don't think Cory has thought this one through; it reeks of naivete 2.0.

  • This is not thought through in the slightest.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

    Get a Creative Commons license, and append some basic text requiring those who re-use your work to pay you a percentage of their gross income.

    So, his solution is to allow others to redistribute one's work as long as the one redistributing the work make no money on the redistribution. This would effectively limit one's market, especially in a digital market, to one person who could then freely give it away to everyone, destroying one's ability to make money on the product.

    One could set up two independent com

  • It is a French-speaking website, but In Libro Veritas [inlibroveritas.net] has this model since 2005. It proposes to host novels and short stories under free licenses, including CCs and Art Libre. If commercial derivatives is allowed, In Libro Veritas tries to sell books or compilation of short stories to its readers (while maintaining a free web access to the texts) and redistributes 50% of the profits to the authors. It keeps afloat, not many authors manage to live from that but it is trying to prove that this model can succe
  • AFAICT, the actual article has nothing to do with piracy. It's just about lowering transaction costs in your licensing business by using a standardized (CC) license instead of hiring lawyers. Doctorow seems to be addressing companies with media assets who are generally CC-friendly, but who are nervous about how to monetize the idea and so stick exclusively to non-commercial CC variants. The article describes a model whereby a for-profit media licensing business model can be built using modified CC licenses.
  • We offer a service to Content Creators who license digital material with share-friendly licenses (like Creative Commons) and distribute the full quality content. We do not charge Content Creators for this service. We also offer to optionally collect sponsorship for the Content Creator (sent to them by check quarterly), and now (just recently) support external sponsorship links to Paypal, Google Checkout or other services.

    see http://beta.legaltorrents.com/ [legaltorrents.com]

  • He's aiming at providing a legal, well balanced way of letting people and small companies create and sell things which use iconography from modern society which is "owned" by famous-individuals / large-companies under trademark and/or copyright laws while at the same time making sure that the owners of the original IP are rewarded.

    This would, for example, empower somebody to craft a clay vase with (for example) the Intel logo and sell it while:
    - Not needing to upfront pay expensive lawyers to agree with Int

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      You ignore the obvious use of something like this. To continue the use Intel from your example, how about an artistic work with an Intel logo in a bucket of piss, to use familiar theme?

      Once you allow "good" and "favorable" uses of such icons you are also open to negative ones. Extremely negative ones. The Coke logo as a tattoo on the butt of a dead hooker, say. You know, with a caption indicating all the wonderful aspects of drinking Coca-Cola and what it will do to your body, such that the dead hooker

  • by geekoid (135745)

    They can pay to use a work NOW.

    This might be clever, but it won't do anything to stop piracy. you know, people not paying ANYTHING to distribute a work.

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