Copyright: Forever Less One Day
Articles Blog

Copyright: Forever Less One Day

October 22, 2019

The origin of copyright law takes us back
to the 1710 and Queen Anne, the Monarch who had just overseen the Unification of England
and Scotland into then, brand-new Great Britain. Also on her busy schedule was the Statute
of Anne: the very first copyright law. It gave authors control over who could make copies
of their books or build on their work a limited time.
Later a group of rebellious colonists, thought the Statue of Anne was a good idea, and so
copy/pasted it into their own constitution giving congress the power:
“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times
to Authors… the exclusive right to their respective Writings”.
Basically, copyright is a contract between authors and society: if you promise to make
more stuff, we promise not to copy it or build on it for 28 years.
Here’s an example from the modern day: let’s say you’re trying to be a director and you’re
looking for a project to get started. Harry Potter is a story you’d love to remake.
But since J. K. Rowling published ‘The Sorcerer’s Stone’ in the United States in 1998 it still
has copyright protection, so you can’t use it.
Instead you need find something from a long time ago, like, for example:
Star Wars: A New Hope! George Lucas released Star Wars: A New Hope
in 1977! That’s more than 28 years ago, So great! Get filming!
Alas, no. While Star Wars should have lost copyright
protection in 2005 it’s actually copyrighted until 2072!
That’s 95 years after publication, not 28! So you can’t use it unless Lucas lets you.
Why does his copyright last for ages? Well, as long as there has been copyright
there have been authors arguing that it’s too short.
And perhaps, they’re right. How’s a poor guy like George Lucas supposed turn a profit
in the mere 28 years between 1977 and 2005? There was only the first theatrical release
of ‘A New Hope’, And the theatrical re-released in 1978
and 1979 and 1981
and 1982 and then there was the 1982 VHS and Betamax
releases the 1984 broadcast television release
the 1985 Laser disc release the 1989 widescreen Laser disc release
the 1990 VHS re-release the 1992 widescreen VHS release
the 1993 Laserdisc re-release the 1995 VHS re-re-release
and the 1997 special edition theatrical release Han shot first, you bastard.
and the 1997 VHS special edition release and the 2004 DVD release
And now you, dear filmmaker, come along and want
make your own version of Star Wars:
a New Hope? For shame! That like stealing food right out of George’s
Lucas’ mouth. Four times Congress has agreed with authors
that the length of copyright is too short to turn a profit and so extended it:
First in 1831 from 28 years to 42 years, then again in 1909 to 56 years, in 1976 to the
lifetime of the author plus 50 years, and in1998 to the lifetime of the author plus
70 years. That’s a great deal for authors who have
already made stuff, but does it really help society get more movies and books?
It’s hard to imagine, for example, that Edgar Rice Burroughs started writing ‘A
Princess of Mars’ and ‘Tarzan’ in 1911 because the copyright laws had just been extended
and would not have done so otherwise. Or that J. K. Rowling, while living on benefits
in Scotland, was busy doing the math and wouldn’t have written Harry Potter if the copyright
protection was just for her whole life and not an additional seven decades thereafter.
Because, exactly who needs incentives after they’re dead? Dead is the point at which
literally no incentives in the whole universe can motivate you to write one more screenplay.
Because you’re dead. If you’re the kind of person who is only
motivated by plans that unravel after your demise, you’re either amazingly awesome
or deranged. But so what? So what if every kindergartner’s
macaroni artwork is protected by copyright for 175 years?
Why does it matter? Because the main beneficiaries of copyright
after death are not the authors, or society but companies. Companies like… Disney.
Remember all the good old Disney movies? Yeah, all of them came from works no longer
under copyright protection at the time. The whole of the Disney Empire and all the
childhood magic that it produces only exist because there was copyright free work for
Walt Disney – you know the guy who actually started the whole company – to rework and
update. But the corporate, Waltless Disney was the
big pusher of the 1998 life +70 years copyright extension. It made sure that no one could
make more popular versions of their movies in the same way they made a more popular version
of Alice in Wonderland. This near-infinite control subverts the whole
purpose of copyright which is to promote the creation of more books and movies, not to
give companies the power to stop people making new creative works based on the efforts on
their long-dead founders. New directors and authors need the freedom
to take what came before to remake and remix (romeo & juliet, emma). And they should be
able to use creative material from their own lifetime to do so, not just be limited to
the work of previous generations. At the turn of the century, George Lucas wrought
upon civilization a new word: anticipointment. The tremendous let-down that was the lazy,
bland, and soulless new trilogy. George Lucas’s was completely within his
rights to make those movies into the sterile, toy-marketing vehicles they were. He owned
Darth Vader and could tell the origin story as he wished – and that’s the only version
you’ll ever get to see. But, imagine for a moment, if copyright still
worked as first intended. In 2011 the whole of the original Star Wars
trilogy – all of its artwork, its characters, its music – would have left copyright protection
and been available to aspiring directors and writers to build upon and make their own versions
of. There would be a treasure trove of new Star
Wars stories for fans to enjoy. But as long as the current copyright laws
remain as they are, no living person will ever get to tell a Darth Vader story, or a
Harry Potter Story, or a Hobbit Story or any other story that matters to them, that the
author or, when after their death, their company, disagrees with.�

Only registered users can comment.

  1. My take on this is that the author should be the arbiter of official canon for their fictional works for their lifetime. Those who seek to release something official needs to reach an agreement with them, probably paying a licensing fee/royalties along the way, to have their works officially endorsed. Anyone who wants to do their own unofficial spin off or parody should be able to do so as long as they make it clear that it is unsanctioned and give proper credit to the original author.

  2. Alternatively, star wars left copyright and everyone and their mom made movies or books about it flooding the markets. Suddenly it becomes a pain to find a good star wars books as you have to wade through dozens or "star wars Christmas special"

    What is Darth Vader origin because 100 people wrote different books explaining it?

    Copyright law sucks but it makes sense to be a bit longer than a decade or 2.

  3. Due to the infringing nature of this comment & use of the english language that is under copyright. It has been removed.

  4. Since I have not seen a theatrical Mickey Mouse movie released in the past ten years (to my knowledge as a Disney fan) and since the live-action remakes have not been exceptional, we can only conclude that copyright laws are, if anything, inhibiting creativity.

  5. I can't believe I'm writing this but thank goodness for Disney. I think I'd go postal if there were MORE Harry Potter crap!

  6. Well, stop supporting hacks making books, films and television off the one good idea they had four decades ago. Let that recycled tripe slip into oblivion and make new memories for your own generation.

    Face it…you’re never going to experience the experience of seeing Star Wars as the audience did back in 1977! The thing that was great about seeing Star Wars back then is that it was something new, fresh and original. Seeing the latest Star Wars films wheeze out of production today just seems stagnant, lazy and vapid.

    Plus, waiting for the same story to be told over 3, 6, 9 or 25 films isn’t developing anything but producers and actors bank accounts.

    Also, how many times do we need to see the same old super hero origin story? Batman, Superman and Spider-Man have been re-booted so many times their wonderful and unique stories have been butchered into insignificance.

    Corporate owned art is a terrible thing. We should be supporting creative people not creative accounting!

  7. I just don’t get why we need to “remix” whats already done. Just make new stories. I don’t think as a society we “lose” anything by allowing an author to have full control over their work. If not we’d just have infinite fan fiction if that if just anyone could read a book and then just slap a 2 after it and take it into whatever strange direction they want, no matter the author’s wishes, and spread it to the masses without batting an eye. No. If I created a story, with carefully thought out themese and characters I would not appreciate that one bit. And same goes to the fans. I wouldn’t appreciate someone messing around with an author’s cannon just cause “we gain more as a society.” Sure we may gain more stories, but are they any good? Not to mention people would cease creating anything and just stick to the big stories that they can now legally with impunity butcher into their own nonsense. I don’t like this idea. Just sayin’.

  8. I listened to too much, potentially ending death which now brings up copyright laws
    Author's life + 70 years so basically until they choose to die + 70 years

  9. fuck democracy we need philosophocracy, power should be thrust into the hands of those who refuse it and leaders should rule by power of moral example

  10. Want to come to VA? I have questions I want to ask you and I would provide for your trip. You won’t get rich, but you’ll have a debate, and maybe see Roanoke, a city that chews people up and spits them out, never to be the same

  11. Okay, yes, but what about stuff like fair use? I mean, when you type something like Lego Star Wars on YouTube, you get about a million results from a thousand different creators? What's the deal with that?

  12. Is why China is already 5 years ahead of the US in technology. Copyright is a bottleneck for innovation.

  13. Copyright Law: only protects work for 50 years after creator's death
    Disney: Hippity hoppity don't copy my intellectual property

  14. Copyright should be 400 years, I'm sick of done to death re dos not nearly as good as originals. More original material!

  15. ⚰ the 🐀 and become 🗽 to make 💰 the same way the 400 Cube Mile size 🐀 has you will need Florida and New York and California to become like the Roman Empire for Walt Disney be making $ -900 Trillion ,or a 2nd Civil War at the same time as World War III .

    I don't like War as the way to make Walt Disney Fall like Lightning from a Tall Mountain in the Heavens.

    Walt Disney owns Star Wars all they need to do know is for them to own Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

    Copyright laws vs Anti – Slavery laws.

  16. Or maybe just write something original. It's a good thing the copyright laws is so long or not we would've gotten much more shitty movies like the lion king live remake or mulan 2.

  17. If things were honest, we would admit A: corporations want eternal copyright. B: governments want money. So try a system where after a short period of free copyright extensions could be bought at an escalating rate. So by the time the copyright enters in its 2nd century the owner has to believe its worth an arm and leg to extend the copyright.

  18. Uhh I agree with copyright laws but Disney has abused them a total of 50 years is more than enough. You sound like a communist

  19. It's probably makes people write less books or movies or anything cuz you can get an unlimited supply of income by only making one book for the rest of your life and enough to support your children for most of their life

  20. I take it back copywrite is good bc otherwise we'd see Nazis taking over star wars. America is still too fucking racist to deserve freedom from copywrite. Having a women and a black man lead the new star wars cast caused an epic meltdown in uneducated white America and now in 2019 we already can't prevent YouTube from letting Nazis radicalize our population of aggrieved unstable whites in a contry where it's easier to get a gun then vote. Thank God more corporations aren't !like YouTube where outright racism is where they get their money or we'd already be on our way to a second civil war.

  21. If copyright lasted only the length of the author's lifetime. I'm sure someone, at some point, would organise an "accident" for the author of a particularly lucrative IP.

  22. And now Disney has run out of stuff to legally plagiarise and has had to resort to re-releasing all their IP in live action. I wonder if they're regretting it now

  23. How the fuck does FUCKiNG Disney strike again with copyright by claiming copyright on another author’s original work just because Disney made a cartoon movie of their work?

  24. In Islam, the job of the Judges in court is to STRIP the publishing companies from such contracts AND punish them.
    In Islam no contract stands against the Justice of God, Justice is not "blind" in Islam.
    You CANNOT ((punish)) a person for being "gullible or "stupid".
    You IMMEDIATELY and DIRECTLY cut the "tail" of the fox, and punish "him" severely.
    But.. here, I think this is the Western way of.. abuse..
    For example, Disney makes their employees sign Waivers and NDAs, and once fired, they cannot work for other Animation studios..
    (An NDA is a Non-Disclosure Agreements, it does not only mean hat you cannot tell others about secret projects the company does, but YOU CAN NOT WORK with what you've "learned, the skills you've attained, to create or help other companies..).
    This is your world..
    Ours is FAR MORE merciful, with the grace of God..

  25. This is why I really appreciate those few authors and creators that just let people do whatever, or are pretty lax with their creations.

  26. Question, lets say I wrote an amazing fan fic of star wars, All my friends who were editors and writers loved it, thought it would be a guaranteed hit for all the right reasons. Now they tell me I can't publish it because of that wonderful C in a circle, However I am a sneaking guy and am the Master of the long legacy game. Could I write the books, and keep them to myself and my family until the copyright expires on star wars, 4 generations down the line. Can my progeny publish that Book/Books I wrote 100+ years ago? Or is the copyright laws going to stop it from being published because it was written during the time of the copyright?

  27. Um actually many other societies had some form of copyright law, such as Irish Brehon Law said “To every cow belongs its calf, and every book it’s copy”

  28. Why not have a clause stating that the more popular your work is, the less amount of years it will be under copyright protection? Where actually small content creators get their money while bigger content creators don't hog all the ideas for themselves?

    It's because Disney and Nintendo would try their hardest to lobby against such a thing.

  29. If copyright was only protected for 28 years, then I bet more real things would have been done with Star Wars since they would only have a limited exclusive time to make their money before the floodgates open (that is more competition).

  30. Trust, me, if the internet has shown us anytime, it's that if the floodgates had opened after 28 years, their would have been a sea of crap associated with the star wars name made by fans and released online.
    And in most cases, we would be lucky to even find a single hidden gem in it.

  31. Why should any have the rights to work they didn’t create anyway? So you can’t rip off harry potter…. good go write something original.

  32. Bet in 2072 when a New😃Hope will have had it's copyright expiration date, Disney will add another 100 years to it's copyright claims.

  33. It's just funny that since Disney acquired Star Wars… the copyright will go on FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR longer than asserted in this video.

  34. as an artist – i totally suport copyright law, and am disgusted by you even mentioning someone taking my creation and fucking it up and me watching that happen. horrible horrible horrible.

    copyright must be for the lifetime of the author

  35. stick a copyright sign © on the ground
    Therefore nobody else can copy the earth
    Also exist and stick a copyright sign on your heart in the future so nobody else that’s a human can be a human

  36. Copyright law ©

    FBI Anti-Piracy Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

  37. Dreamworks and Mattel letting Noelle Stevenson run wild with her stupid She-Ra fanfic

    Copyright law is not having its intended effect, I think.

  38. "If you have an apple, and I have an apple, and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea, and I have an idea, and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas." -Phi Kappa Phi Journal

    Property rights allow for the fair trade of scarce resources. There is a finite amount of food, water, and land. Property rights exist to protect others from stealing finite property that belongs to you. Intellectual property, on the other hand, allows for monopoly over ideas. Ideas, unlike physical property, are limitless. There is no need or reason why you should have property over an idea. Intellectual property creates monopolies against artistic freedom and ideas. It creates a monopoly over one's mind.

    Therefore, copyright should be abolished as it's not protecting anything scarce like food, water, or land.

  39. We have 53 Years and Were Hit with several Star Wars ripoffs

    It's also why won't you just make your own stuff And then Just Take inspiration from other Pieces of media Like come on we all Creative we all have a brain So how about you use it and come Up with a story Just like every single person you mentioned

  40. What about a work of art that has been written over 200 years ago, yet it has been made a movie 10 years ago?(for example)
    Can I reuse it or not?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *