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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: On Length of Copyright
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/4/2003 3:28:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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>My question is, should copyright extend past the death of the author,
>and if so for how long? If it were up to you? While I agree that the
>author should receive compensation for his works through his old age,
>is it part of society's obligation to provide for the author's heirs?
>If so, for how long?

Well, that's really the rub, isn't it? If copyright means ownership -- and
technically it does -- then it really shouldn't be any different from passing
along anything else one owns to one's family. It's a part of the estate, same
as the old rollaway desk and pictures of the family dog.

Society's obligation? Seems like we're again looking at the wrong end of the
microscope. The Bush administration is inche away from *totally* repealing
estate taxes, so you carry the burden of that lost revenue in what you as an
individual pay. (Sidelight: the Democrats said, at one point, "look, tell you
what, why don't we just exempt the first hundred million dollars from estate
taxes, but if you get over $100,000,000, you have to pay some taxes." The
Republicans dismissed it out of hand, not one person went for it. Kind of
tells you where their proirities are, doesn't it? This ain't about helping
poor farmers keep their farms. And whenever they've used that line, btw, it's
been shown afterward that not one farmer could be produced who lost his farm
due to estate taxes.)

Corporations earning billions of dollars incorporate overseas and pay zero
taxes...you and the rest of society are picking up the check on that one.
Personally, I'd be more concerned about that than the average novel, which
earns only a few thousand bucks a year. There aren't many Steinbecks among us
right now.

So yeah, I do think the period should extend beyond the author's life. Fifty
years is a goodly amount of time, but if it were to be peeled back a bit from
that, say to 20 or 30, I'd be okay with that.

One sidelight to this thing...most writers working at a certain level these
days incorporate, and all their works are owned/copyrighted by the corporation,
not the individual. So all Harlan's works are (c) the Kiliminjaro Corporation,
and mine are (c) Synthetic Worlds, Ltd. Which means that the works are
copyrighted for *the life of the corporation*, not my life.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: On Length of Copyright
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/7/2003 2:03:00 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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>Is there a point where a book *should* enter the public domain?

Ultimately, yeah, I think so. I think that at some point, a work of art must
pass from the hands of the creator to the hands of the world, so that it can be
remembered and propagated and cherishd.

What that point in time might be, is what the lawyers are still trying to
define.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: On Length of Copyright
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/7/2003 2:09:00 AM  

Message 3 in thread 

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>Question -- what are the benefits of setting up your copyright with a
>corporation? I can sort of sketch out why, but from a theoretical point of
>view, not from having done it. Can you spell out why you and others do it
>this way?

I already answered part of this in the message you cite, where I noted:

>So all Harlan's works are (c) the Kiliminjaro
>Corporation,
>> and mine are (c) Synthetic Worlds, Ltd. Which means that the works are
>> copyrighted for *the life of the corporation*, not my life.

So if the corporation survives for 170 years, that is the life of the owner of
the copyright, and it belongs to SWL for 170 years. Now, the odds of that
actually *happening* are about zero, but that's the theory. They can also be
assigned as a corporate value and transferred. It also separates out who owns
what in case of lawsuit. If you are sued as an individual, the properties
owned by the corporation are generally protected.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: attn. JMS: On Length of Copyright
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 7/7/2003 2:16:00 AM  

Message 4 in thread 

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>>Corporations earning billions of dollars incorporate overseas and pay zero
>>taxes...you and the rest of society are picking up the check on that one.
> Of course you are anyway since corp are legal entities and any taxes they
>pay don't just spring up from nowhere. They are taken from us in higher
>prices, from the shareholder's equity (and with very few exceptions the vast
>majority of the stock is held outside of the Inherently Evil board of
>directors) or wages.
> If you want to tax them for extra rev., go ahead and do it. Don't try to
>sell it like you are stopping the robber barons because all you are doing is
>taking money from one of these three pots.

First, what you have to understand is that what doesn't get paid in taxes ends
up in huge dividends to members of the BoD and to the CEO...millions of dollars
in bonuses that might otherwise have been paid in taxes.

Second, you have to look at the long term trend in taxation of the last fifty
years. At one point, about fifty years ago, corporations made up about 70% of
the tax burden, while individual taxpayers, consumers, made up about 30%. Over
the decades, that has shifted until it's nearly inverted...with corporations
paying about 30% of the overall tax burden, and consumers paying the remaining
70%. Specifically because the corporations have received so much in tax
breaks, corporate welfare, and other writeoffs that billions of dollars simply
go untaxed.

You're right, if it doesn't come out of one pot, it comes out of the
other...only in this case, that pot is your wallet.

As for higher prices...there's a limit which people will generally accept for
some items, and in truth, you're getting gigged for higher prices anyway. When
Michael Eisner took over Disney, he raised the ticket price at Disneyland so
that it brought in millions more that year in revenue. And as it turns out,
his bonus that year...was exactly equal to what had come in through the jacked
up ticket prices.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)

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