WorldCon 2013 Report: Day Four — The Current State of US Copyright Law

copyrightPanel: Will Frank (M), Paul Herman, Richard Morgan, John Wardale

This was an interesting panel. I went because I knew that there’s been quite a bit of uproar about various copyright-related issues. I did learn quite a bit.

My Notes

  • Some people think of copyright just as protection
  • The biggest goal of copyright is just to promote culture
  • The reason there is any protection at all is so that artists can gain income from their works
  • Supposed to provide a limit so you can protect your stuff for a period of time, but has become perpetual
  • Copyright is really narrow (someone has take the same picture you did)
  • Copyright is provided for in the Constitution; a balance—a deal—between the government and the artist
  • Patent is for ideas; copyrights are for the actual work
  • Copyright is the exclusive rights that can be licensed
  • Original copyright was 28 years, now 95; 75 years in most places overseas (life of the artist + 25 years)
  • In the U.S., it is only about economic benefit, not moral as in Europe
  • Fair Use exception: 4 key points
  • Have you harmed the future income potential of the work?
  • One key word is "transformative"
  • Some groups create an aura around their rights
  • Parody is a good example of fair use
  • The Internet exists in a weird place in relation to copyright
  • Cite your source
  • Respect the social norm
  • Trademark is a different beast; it’s related to a product or a family of products, not content
  • Creative Commons licensing
  • Open source is about free speech, not free beer
  • Most fan work is derivative work
  • There are different rules about inheriting copyright than for other items; make sure you plan for that accordingly

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