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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

Copyright

This is actually amazing. A talk on what YouTube does with copyright and how they view it, from TED. It’s interesting, and there are two things in there to watch. Note, that I caught this link from Jeff Atwood (@CodingHorror) on his blog.

The first thing is that YouTube scans over 100 years of video every day. 100 years! That’s freaking amazing. That is an incredible amount of video processing that’s taking place, and a low of power being spent to enforce copyright. Forget about the legal issues for a minute and think about the technology. That is just amazing.

The second thing in the talk is that content owners can, and are choosing, to not block this content, but rather use it to generate some benefits from them. They ought to be able to receive some benefits, and I agree, but knocking down some kid’s video because he used a copyrighted song seems silly. Especially as in the case of the wedding video, you never know what will go viral and what benefits you’ll get. Including selling more copies of your stuff.

However the thing that worries me is that we are now not looking out for Fair Use. If a copyright holder wants to block their content, can we still get our 30sec of use of it in a video we make? Or a mashup?

7231[1] The copyright office doesn’t necessarily define the fair use guidelines, but I think they need to. We ought to have some idea of what portion of audio, video, imagery, and text can be used, with citation. Even with automatic citation, that may benefit the copyright holder.

We publish books here through Simple Talk Publishing. We typically offer books for free as marketing materials here on the site, and also sell them on Amazon and other retailers. Regularly I find these republished, or even for sale, on the Internet on other sites. I understand people wanting to share, but ultimately it’s a problem for us if all our books become too widely distributed for free. I know there are a lot of debates on piracy, and I’m not completely sure where I stand. I don’t actively worry about piracy, but I do act to have things removed when I find it.

We need to do something here to both protect the copyright holders, but also allow people to reuse ideas and build on them. I certainly wouldn’t mind someone republishing portions of my work, or building their own knowledge publications based on it, just don’t wholesale copy what I’ve done without giving me any credit.

I think YouTube has a good balance here, though I’d like to see more efforts from content owners to share and allow others to build on their work.

Comments

Posted by Dave Wentzel on 18 October 2010

May I kindly suggest you get a little education on intellectual property (IP) rights?  I would suggest any work by Stephan Kinsella.  After you read his works you will fight against IP and will retract most of your comments above.  Case in point, the fashion industry, which does not have/enforce IP and is thriving.  After you research IP you will quickly see why fashion designers have their logos and names all over their wares.  

What is most egregious about your post is using "piracy" as a justification for IP enforcement.  A brief history lesson...the first "patent" (a form of IP) was issued by Queen Elizabeth I to Sir Francis Drake.  The word "patent" is from the Latin patens meaning "open".  The Queen gave an open letter to Sir Francis Drake giving him a legal monopoly over piracy sanctioned by her government.  If you know your history you'll know Francis Drake should be the most famous pirate in history.  He was the second circum-navigator in history necessitated in evading the Spanish, whom he plundered.  So basically, you are stating IP enforcement should be used to curb piracy (theft), when upon further inspection, IP is really a means for legally-sanctioned monopolies to steal from the consumer.  

Based on the language of your post (your use of "I'm not completely sure" and "I know there are a lot of debates on piracy") I can tell you actually doubt your position.  Do some research on IP and I'll bet you discard the bulk of this post.  

Posted by Steve Jones on 18 October 2010

Of course copyright is a monopoly. Without a doubt that is its intention and it is listed in the US constitution (en.wikipedia.org/.../Copyright_Clause). It is intended as a way to allow renumeration for a limited time (limited is the key) for authors of creative works.

I agree with that. We ought to have some IP rights. Do you think that you should be able to copy every bit of SQLServerCentral and create SQLServerCentral.uk? Sell your own advertising and just read all my feeds? Should you be able to copy "The Da Vinci Code" and sell your own copies without any permission from the author? At the very least I'd argue that it's immoral, even without IP laws.

IP laws aren't stealing from the consumer. The laws are there for the creators of content. I believe that creators should be allowed some control over their works. However I do think the current system is broken, and it goes too far. I would like to see us back to the original 14+14 years.

Piracy is a word being used by many people, so I repeated it here. It's not theft, and I see that word being used often as well. Infringement may be a better word, and maybe

I should have used that, but I am not going to get into a semantic debate. If you want to go there, privateering is the term when acts is government sanctioned.

I'll look up some of Kinsella's work. It's an interesting topic. I'd urge you to read some of Lessig's as well. He believes in copyright, but like me, sees the current system as broken.

Posted by Steve Jones on 18 October 2010

Also, my hesitation on the stance is that piracy is some sense does benefit the producer. It does allow for a wider distribution of products, but if it becomes too wide, then the producer may not receive enough benefit to produce more content.

That is my concern.

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