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Author Topic: Intellectual Property  (Read 17053 times)

Sk1llz

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Re:Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Copyright
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2002, 10:05:40 am »

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On the subject of lifetime, what is a company or corporations lifetime?

As far as I am aware copyright still has a limited time while the author is still "alive". In the case of a corporate entity the copyright would only last a period of time (which eludes me at this moment). Patents, from what I understand, can only be awarded to individuals. I could be wrong and how I've heard it reported in news articles would make me believe otherwise. If someone could clarify I would be most appreciative.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2002, 10:20:26 am by Sk1llz »
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admin

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Re:Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Copyright
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2002, 04:46:58 pm »

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On the subject of lifetime, what is a company or corporations lifetime?

As far as I am aware copyright still has a limited time while the author is still "alive". In the case of a corporate entity the copyright would only last a period of time (which eludes me at this moment). Patents, from what I understand, can only be awarded to individuals. I could be wrong and how I've heard it reported in news articles would make me believe otherwise. If someone could clarify I would be most appreciative.


Corporations can own patents.  Places like IBM have thousands.  When you sign up to work for someplace like IBM, you agree that anything you patent while working there becomes their property.
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maestro

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Re:Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Copyright
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2002, 05:10:22 pm »

If I'm not mistaken, corporations cannot file patents, but an employee of a company must assign patents that are filed under their name, based on the employment contract they signed.
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StMarc

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Re:Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Copyright
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2002, 10:42:06 am »

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On the subject of lifetime, what is a company or corporations lifetime?

As far as I am aware copyright still has a limited time while the author is still "alive". In the case of a corporate entity the copyright would only last a period of time (which eludes me at this moment). Patents, from what I understand, can only be awarded to individuals. I could be wrong and how I've heard it reported in news articles would make me believe otherwise. If someone could clarify I would be most appreciative.


Amongst my many unsavory habits is that I am an intellectual property lawyer, and so I happen to know this off the top of my head. Anyone may learn for themselves at the USPTO's excellent website (http://www.uspto.gov) or the equally excellent Library of Congress copyright website (http://www.loc.gov/copyright).

1) Only individuals can be inventors of record for patents or authors of record for copyrights. However, patents can be assigned to corporations, and works for hire can likewise belong to corporations. The main difference is that a patent must be explicitly assigned to a corporation either directly or under the terms of an employment agreement. A copyright can be a "work for hire" and belongs to the person or entity who hired its creation, at the moment of creation, with no explicit assignment being necessary.

The only entity which cannot create copyrighted material is the US Government, although it can recieve the assignment of copyrights. US Government scientists can apply for patents, which are usually licensed back to an academic entity (or simply retained by their inventors!)

European copyright law (and possibly American law, sometimes - see Gilliam v. American Broadcasting Corporation) includes a separate right, called the "moral right," which is much harder to alienate and basically gives an artist the right to see that their creations are not tampered with so as to negatively affect their artistic vision. It's very complicated. All good IP attorneys *ahem* include language in licenses which purports to transfer the moral rights as well, but these are as yet largely untested.

2) The term of copyright for a work created by an individual was recently extented from "life of the author plus fifty years" to "life of the author plus seventy years." This was done by Disney's pet congresscritters as the copyright on the original Mickey Mouse was about to expire, which would have put Mickey in the public domain - an unspeakable horror. In the case of joint works, the last author to die starts the clock ticking.

3) For works made for hire, or anyonymous/psuedonymous works, the term of copyright is 95 years from date of publication, or 120 years from date of creation, whichever is shorter. This is in line with past terms, which have always worked on the assumption that the average author lives 25 years after creating a copyright, and therefore it is reasonable to give an "immortal" entity like a corporation roughly the same protection. Why 25 years, I don't know.

St. Marc
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maestro

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Re:Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Copyright
« Reply #34 on: November 06, 2002, 01:11:32 pm »

Amongst my many unsavory habits is that I am an intellectual property lawyer

Back! Back!  Thou demon from hell!  

But seriously, I'd like to know your opinion on the document (A speech by a english lord on the subject of copyright extension) that I referenced earlier in this thread, and your own opinion on what a reasonable level of protection would be.  And how you would suggest lowering protection _to_ that level if, it were possible. without severe ecnomic and judicial problems.
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StMarc

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Re:Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Copyright
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2002, 09:21:01 am »

Amongst my many unsavory habits is that I am an intellectual property lawyer

Back! Back!  Thou demon from hell!  

Aw, shucks. You're embarassing me.

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But seriously, I'd like to know your opinion on the document (A speech by a english lord on the subject of copyright extension) that I referenced earlier in this thread,
I think he's right on the money. A limited time doesn't necessarily imply a fixed time, but the world is quite complicated enough without a variable term of copyright. You create it, you own it, for a limited time. I would say that his suggestion (forty-two years) is more than generous.
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and your own opinion on what a reasonable level of protection would be.  And how you would suggest lowering protection _to_ that level if, it were possible. without severe ecnomic and judicial problems.
Like the t-shirt says, "Just do it." What problems? Other than the economic "problems" caused by people who think they should own lucrative artistic creations forever - which maybe they should and maybe they shouldn't, but in any event, the postulate of our discussion is what is a reasonable limit - I don't understand what you think the problems would be.

St. Marc
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maestro

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Re:Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Copyright
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2002, 10:33:18 am »

Here's what I see as the biggest problem.  If a company purchases license for 50 years to use a copyright, and the copyright owner loses access to that copyright due to change in law in only 25 years (for example) then the original company has paid money for nothing.  

In a second example, a company takes out a business loan and creates a business plan to take advantage of a copyright or product that has 10 years of life left in its copyright or patent.  A law is passed that cuts the patent and copyright time by 10 years.  suddenly this business plan is invalid, the company folds or takes a large loss, and the bank loses its loan.

These kinds of issues make me think that any shortening of copyright should be done progressively, such that patents and copyrights are not shortened drastically in one blow, and few contract issues will come to the courts.
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StMarc

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Re:Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Copyright
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2002, 12:14:20 pm »

Here's what I see as the biggest problem.  ...
These kinds of issues make me think that any shortening of copyright should be done progressively, such that patents and copyrights are not shortened drastically in one blow, and few contract issues will come to the courts.
Already taken care of:

"No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

Article I, Section 9.

"No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility."

Article I, Section 10.

Extending or decreasing the term of an issued copyright or patent is an ex post facto law. Doing so to a patent or copyright which is the subject of a contract is a law impairing the obligation of contracts. The rule simply needs to be, whatever the term is when you get the patent or copyright, that's the term. No extensions, no reductions.

St. Marc
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maestro

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Re:Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness & Copyright
« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2002, 12:40:06 pm »

however we've already seen retroactive extensions passed.  So presumably, we could pass retroactive shortenings.  Whether or not we should is another issue though, and I think I agree with you on it, even though it is rather painful for the next 70-90 years
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