[Foundation-l] WMF/EFF and Copyright extension

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Thu Feb 21 19:21:39 UTC 2008

David Gerard wrote:
> On 20/02/2008, Brian McNeil <brian.mcneil at wikinewsie.org> wrote:
>> I think "theft" is too loaded a word.
>>  How about "Depriving the public domain of culturally significant material"?
> "theft of the public domain" is a phrase that ties in with the
> campaigns of various digital rights organisations fighting against the
> same copyright extension in the EU.
Actually "theft from" would be more precise than "theft of".  
Nevertheless, I'm not completely convinced that "theft" isa the right 
word.  I would lean more toward "pillage" or :"plunder".  It's more like 
a visiting army that claims the material by right of conquest. 

I have long maintained that copyright is a property right, and being in 
the public domain does not mean that nobody owns it but that everybody 
owns it. 
By mixing in moral rights some countries do manage to muddle the entire 
issue, and frame it in a different perspective.  I appreciate the link 
that David is making, though an extension of that thought also gives 
some strength to using the term "piracy".

In theory the government of republic should be protecting the rights of 
the public rather than the rights of vested interests.  Despite the 
objections that  I have about some aspects of U. S. copyright law, there 
are others where I feel it is on the right track.  It views copyrights 
as primarily a civil matter rather than a criminal one, and actions for 
infringement must be taken by the owner of the copyright.  To the extent 
that there are provisions for criminal infringement, even there civil 
infringement is one of the prerequisites to criminal infringement. 

While it is often argued that the U. S. system creates rights for 
publishers and others beyond the original creators, at least it does 
this through the front door.  The EU, by treating those rights as 
personal rights and allowing governments to prosecute those rights is 
even more effective in protecting the rights of the publishers.  It 
effectively restricts competition when anyone can file a complaint that 
the copyrights of a long dead author are being infringed; that helps to 
keep a competing work off the market.

Perhaps we should also change DRM to PDRM: Presti-Digital Rights Management.


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