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A workable alternative to intellectual property

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:43 am
by crit25564
We all know the troubles with intellectual property. We can't access everything we want. Authors don't get paid because people pirate their work. The system requires constant court battles between authors. And in the end, middlemen consume most of the rewards - to the extent that musicians literally describe themselves as "indentured servants" subjected to decades-long contracts if they want to be heard (and paid) at all.

I want to see a system where people pay a surtax on their income tax to fund a replacement to copyright royalties. But the individual taxpayer retains the right to decide how it is spent. To prevent abuse, there is a limit to how much an individual can assign to one specific author, and for convenience, individuals may choose to allocate larger blocks of funds to funding organizations.

To go into specifics, WIPO estimates that copyright-driven industries make up 7.7% of the U.S. GDP. Now this doesn't mean that copyright royalties per se make up 7.7% (presumably the printers, lawyers, and marketers take their cut first, lowering the royalties paid), and on the other hand there are also patents, trademarks, personality rights and all sorts of other oddities that would raise the number - so this is a vague figure. By comparison some sources put total U.S. tax revenue at 24% of GDP, and individual income taxes (which excludes FICA) at 7.4% of GDP. So, very roughly, this plan involves a doubling of individual income tax - but for that money, you get full access to every book, scientific journal, film, TV channel, and song ever made; and patent-based monopolies would be broken up and products would be more competitively priced. On your tax bill, you wouldn't just calculate an amount owed, but allocate money toward these funding organizations and (in small amounts) to favorite artists, scientists, and research institutions as you see fit. Such allocation wouldn't be perfect, but then again, picking books and CDs off a shelf based on their covers is not very perfect either. The organizations might poll members, use professional critics, and modify their expenditures to assist underfunded creative sectors. The idea is that at least on average, people pay less for intellectual property than they do now, and artists receive more than they do now, with improvements at either end due to the reduction in costs and inefficiencies associated with enforcing copyright.

Existing mechanisms for funding intellectual property by government agencies would be folded into this - for example, the NIH, NSF, NEA and so forth would become independent funding organizations as described above.

Re: A workable alternative to intellectual property

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:09 am
by crit20066
I'm actually generally for using public money to solve such problems. if the money is their use it[ of course assuming the tax rate stays reasonable, it is fine].
the last point shouldn't be taken as a critique of taxes though.
Hmm but working on a reasonable system sounds actually much like a good idea to be frank.
›Oo‹, I wouldn't say pirates alone are the problem what about privateers? those awful private entities who steal copyrighted work.[their are companies who have stollen copyrighted work invariably they have gotten away with it and invariably when they don't it still leaves the victim anyway.]
›o.O‹, so yeah hmm.., it depends. their is some squib els not worth selling, or protecting these don't need to worry.
but having read it I do see the argument for copyright and artists aren't going to stop signing their work.
Their needs to be a better legal system that pays less to the middle man and is more accountable, more efficient and most of all more just.
So if I put a wonderful painting online that to me doesn't have financial value, I still am making a loss if someone else copies it for money in that they could have paid me royalties on.
If however it has no commercial value I don't make a financial loss non the less, They would still ride on my reptuation if they claimed I gave them permission if you didn't or they claimed it was theirs it may still damage your reputation.
So that doesn't make things very viable.

/\ the above legal experience is from my parents protecting their software :shock: .

Re: A workable alternative to intellectual property

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:54 am
by crit25564
You make a good point - with the system I've described, it is possible that someone could run around and copy artworks from obscure authors, or which were essentially noncommercial, and claim credit for them. With an end to copyright, this would not be illegal. However, funding organizations which receive check-offs from individuals' IRS returns could impose conditions on financial support that they offer to artists, and one of those conditions could be that the artist discloses his sources and influences. So the offending artist would be guilty of committing fraud by failing to disclose plagiarism as required when accepting the monetary support. This would not prohibit ordinary people and businesses from copying the art to use on websites or even for commercial purposes such as advertising - only from taking grant money under false pretenses to support originality that isn't really theirs.

It is also possible that a redistributor would compile vast archives of little-known works, and make money from non-grant sources, such as advertising, by bringing traffic to their site. This would be legal. Its effect should be to help obscure creators be recognized, and to help the public to find them, and to help funding organizations and private individuals identify them for support. I have not proposed a specific right for creators to be attributed, even though some private companies could try to take advantage - my feeling is that the market should greatly favor sites which makes it easy to find more works by the same author.

A sticky point concerns what happens when someone fails to attribute a copied or derivative work, but tries to persuade members of the public to list him as a direct funding recipient on the tax return. There's one major limitation on this which is clearly unavoidable - the money given to one recipient should be capped, because otherwise I can list you and you can list me as funding recipients for the entire sum, and the system is defeated. It may also be necessary to require full disclosure that a work is partly or wholly copied, naming the source, before any direct funding can be solicited.

There actually are certain situations in which a work is fully copied, yet the result is notable and would be worth rewarding with continued funding. For example, the Elmer Fudd "Kill the Wabbit" episode is directly based on the Ride of the Valkyries, because that tune predated the continual extensions of copyright. By contrast, works which attempt to parody modern songs are forced to use not merely different lyrics but different music, and as a result they tend to fail so badly that they are seldom attempted.

Re: A workable alternative to intellectual property

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:06 pm
by crit20853
I don't see the idea as being workable. With this idea people assign royalties by whim by not as the based on the free market. A person who never reads poetry but wants to support it may allocate all his credits to poets or to a friend who is a poet. This system would tend to reward popularity not writing.

Re: A workable alternative to intellectual property

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:42 pm
by crit18373
You would never never get a law passed in the USA taxing people to pay for copyrighted material. Not as long as all of the "small government" advocates and corporate entertainment lobbyists exist.

Workable maybe, but only under circumstances which do not exist in this country.