October 6, 2009 at 7:51 am #1077
I’m curious to hear if anyone here knows what copyright law will be like on the steads.
Some of you may know I’m planning to set up a Dutch-style coffee shop, and ‘d like to be able to play movies and Dr Who boxsets in the corner. So I want to make sure I can’t be hunted down for it.
- NickOctober 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm #8004
I think they would care less about trying to hunt you down if you just have the copyright infringed items. From what I understand, the companies usually spend their resources on trying to catch the people that are actually selling/distributing the infringed items. They do it that way, because it is much easier to prosecute somebody that is actually selling the material, and they figure that if they remove the sources of the infringed material, people won’t be able to buy the material anymore anyways, thus people will be forced to buy the legal copies of their products for much more money than they origionally were able to on the infringed material.October 6, 2009 at 4:54 pm #8006
If you’re just playing the movies and not charging people to watch, it’s a nonissue. They’re buying coffee, not movie tickets. Now if you’re selling pirated copies, that’s a different can of fish.
Taking our cue from the Eskimos, we boat people have over 30 words for “leak.”October 6, 2009 at 5:08 pm #8008
Theif, maybe i misunderstood your intent. Are you asking about copyright infringed items(pirated items), copies that you purchased legally, or copies that have a license for only private viewing(no puclic allowed)?
If it is just regular material, than the same rule applies to it as does to anything that is copyrighted. You bought it, it’s your’s, and you can take it anywhere in the world you want to without fear of being hunted down.
Now there is some material, like Disney movies, that have private viewing only licenses. That means you can’t play the material in public for others to watch as in like your coffee shop. You’d have to buy a licensed version that allows for public viewing for a bit more that the private version costs to be able to display it in public.
I don’t know where you plan on being located, so It would be up to you if you want to take the chance on displaying material that infringes on a copyright. Personally, I think if you did get caught, they would give you a warning, which would pretty much mean, stop playing this material of our’s in public, or we will sue. At that point, I’d stop playing that movie, and just play something else more often until that company comes along and says the same thing as the other company told me about the other material.
Hope this hellps.October 6, 2009 at 5:31 pm #8009
Even if you purchase your own copy of a CD you cannot play that CD in a store…or cafe…or even on your phone system for people to listen to when they are on hold. Even if you are not charging people to listen to it you need to pay royalties to the holder of the copyright, because it is enhancing the ambiance of your establishment and thus increasing your profits.
Thus you can play a CD, or watch a movie, at a party at your house without having to pay royalties. But you could not have the CD playing in the background at your shop or have the movie playing on a TV without breaking US copyright law.
I know it’s dumb, but I’ve done plenty of research on copyright law and it is very restrictive.October 6, 2009 at 9:19 pm #8010
Yeah, Smith, that’s the impression I have of it. As far as I know, almost all movies and boxsets have a private viewing license as standard when you buy them, but not a public license.
I was talking about showing material which I’d bought legally, but which only had a private license.
Any idea what the chances of trouble are? Or how much that trouble would be?
PS: Can anyone advise me as to the proper spelling of “license”?October 6, 2009 at 11:48 pm #8014
thief asked what the copyright law would be “on the steads” – not what copyright law is like in the nations of the present day.
This is a good topic of discussion. Obviously the current state of copyright law is terrible, and it is getting worse. As intellectual property – and the necessity of growing cultural interdependence – grows, I think we will find that copyright law may become a major motivation for people to move to seasteads, and repeating the mistakes of the land-based societies hardly seems to be a viable solution.
Just to give you an idea of how bad things have become, I recently got back in contact with an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in years, and who was not aware of my long-standing advocacy for sane copyright law. In an email she sent me lately she complimented me for putting some photographs on Wikimedia and putting them into the public domain. She told me how important a healthy public domain was to small publishers and writers, made some disparaging comments about the current state of copyright law, and mentioned that a writer’s group she belongs to was – naturally – against it.
That was what got me – just in passing, she mentions that naturally the writers were against strong copyright laws. Haven’t the politicians been telling us that they have been passing these wretched laws for the writers?
As we become more and more creatures of the mind, the question of intellectual property will become vitally important. Do we own our minds and our experiences, or does some third party own parts of our memories and our experience?
At the very least, I believe most sea steads will want to severely restrict copyright, with very broad allowances for fair use and a pretty short duration. A little known fact is that the vast majority of profits from copyright come in the first few years. Something like 98% of profits come in the first six years, but the costs to the public of a longer copyright period are staggering in temrs of reduced innovation and sometimes the complete loss of cultural artifacts. A few extremely profitable works may rake in profits for years, but these are the exception, not the rule.
Jefferson’s thoughts on Copyright are still valid today, and the original term in the United States was 14 years . . . in a time when production and distribution could be quite time consuming. With today’s faster pace, even 10 years is probably too long.
At the same time, producers of intellectual property should be compensated for their very real work, and I don’t have a problem with copyright law if it used for that purpose, and is balanced between the needs of the artists and the needs of the public.
Remember that copyright law is a type of contract between artists and the public – the public grants a temporary monopoly on something that has no natural monopoly, in exchange for artists producing the intellectual property the public needs. It is a contract, an agreement that the public will enforce the artist’s claim to compensation on the artist’s behalf – but it is by no means an indication that an artist has any natural right to copies of their work. As long as others can make copies without diminishing the usefulness of the original to its owner, there is no natural right to this property – unlike things like a chair or a table, where one person’s use diminishes another’s use of the same.October 7, 2009 at 1:55 am #8016
This rtf editor is killing me.October 7, 2009 at 4:53 am #8017
No offense, Sky, but I don’t think you read the original question carefully.
If thief wishes to open up a Dutch-style coffee shop, he is already talking about wanting to do so on a stead - because unless I missed something and he is Dutch, a Dutch-style coffee shop would be illegal most other places (one of the reasons why some people want to seastead in the first place).
If he establishes such a shop on a stead he is naturally interested in what the local laws would or should be as pertains to copyright. Consulting a copyright lawyer would be useless for this, as these laws have not yet been written for seasteads. Therefore, this becomes a hypothetical issue – what should copyright laws be like on a seastead.
But you do bring up one point – how we should interact with other nations’ views of copyright. While seasteads do not have many people, this should be a non-issue, but once seasteads grow it could get some nations quite upset. Personally I think we should go with a 5 to 10 year copyright period, with liberal Fair Use provisions. This gives authors and artists the bulk of their profits while balancing their interests with the interests of the public to build on what has gone before them – and as change speeds up, this period might do well to decrease, in the interest of the common good. It should be noted that creators still have other options to preserve their income, such as selling authorized editions of their works, so that their fans can know which products to buy to support their favorite artists.
I will also note that under the Berne convention, nations are allowed considerable leeway in how they interpret copyright laws. However, the minimum copyright period allowed by that convention (50 years after an author’s death – which also produces issues relating to finding the author and when they died, which can often be prohibitively difficult) is far, far too long for any rapidly evolving culture. This convention is very bad news for society, and is incidentally based on French law rather than the original British copyright law (the first copyright law) which was intended to compensate authors for the benefit of the public, by providing authors the means to produce more works.
I would recommend a unilateral move to respect all copyrights, but only for a short period as noted before and with considerable Fair Use provisions. We should not be held hostage by the outdated legal theories of an outdated culture.October 8, 2009 at 4:02 am #8032
If we are flying a flag of convenience of some nation, shouldn’t we [theoretically] be following the copyright laws of that nation?October 8, 2009 at 12:33 pm #8035
I’m sure there are sneaky but legal workarounds for this. Maybe get an FCC broadcast license, and transmit the movies (maybe via cable/fiberoptic) to yourself and anyone else that wants to pay up for the first seasteading cable company (SeaMovie LLC?). Have your company pay the licensing fees or whatever. It may be similar to amateur radio, for all I know.
Taking our cue from the Eskimos, we boat people have over 30 words for “leak.”October 8, 2009 at 2:58 pm #8036
While this is an issue if you are setup in an EEZ, if you are outside the EEZ then this is really a non-issue. Even with a very large seastead of a few hundred people I doubt very much you will have the U.S. Navy coming after you because you are playing “The Little Mermaid” in a coffee shop for a dozen people.
They are really more concerned with illegal distribution of large quantities of copyrighted materials. If your seastead is setup to mass-produce cheap copies of “The Little Mermaid” and sell them on the black market then you might be more concerned.October 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm #8043
Thief wants a “Dutch style” coffe shop. Translation, a smoke shop. I guess its “licence” dude. Whatever he plays is irrelevant since after few puffs everything will be an altered state of consciousness,…October 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm #8049
I think YOU ALL MISSED the issue
I don’t think so. He wondered what the implications would be if he played copyrighted materials for his patrons in his coffee shop. It doesn’t matter if it’s Dutch-style or Dunkin Donuts. If he is outside an EEZ and he is only doing this for a few dozen people then it is a non-issue. Nobody is coming after him and there are more important things to worry about like…..oh, I don’t know….maybe ALL THE DRUGS.
The only reason he should be concerned is if he established a massive movie pirate business to fund all the pot purchases. Then he should be worried.October 8, 2009 at 9:01 pm #8054
LOL Smith, you crack me up.
I think that unless he is giving his pot away for free, I doubt he needs a massive movie pirate business to back the purchasing of his pot.
I’m sorry thief, I didn’t go look up where you are from. But I did learn something new, the Brits spell it differently than we Yanks do.
And I think I’m done wasting my time hypothesizing about what copyright laws might be like on the seastead, and just wait a few years when I can better address the issue with firmer variables confirmed and in place than they currently are. Besides, the issue is going to be uniquely different with every seastead according to how they are established and their laws they come up with and which ones they want to obey/use from outside entities. Rest assured though, I will consult a copyright lawyer when I need to that can best advise me to which directions to take in order to protect myself, as any other smart, businessman would do.
But this does make for a good what-if thread to continue, as do a lot of other threads on here.
Oh, and Ken to not leave your question unanswered…Yes, you should [theoretically] be following all the laws of a country that you are flying a flag of convenience of. If not, you would be breaking their laws, and they can do to you as they do to anyone on their soil that breaks one of their laws. If you are not a citizen of their country, then things will vary, but I don’t think you’d get off scotch free to where not even a word is spoken to you about the issue. Depending on that countries’ laws on business formations, then the businesses might be held accountable accordingly. Say by possibility, that you were allowed to form the business as a foreigner, which I believe most countries make sure to have at least one national citizen listed as owners/formers of the business, then the business’ liabilities(anything you do wrong) could rest upon you, and the rest of the owners/formers depending on the business formation. So be smart and be sure you are familiar with a countries’ laws if you plan on staying on a seastead that “uses their flag as a convenience” as I like to see it.
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