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March 19, 2021

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The word is used somewhere in GBS's writing, probably one of the plays. I can't place where, I just remember being bemused by the broader/older usage. And lord knows I can't spend a week rereading the plays to find it, although the temptation is strong. ;-)

So yeah, my memory tosses up a hunch, and the The Gutenberg Project does the rest, with formatting enhancements from my printed copy.

From Captain Brassbound's Conversion:

SIR HOWARD. My dear Mr. Rankin, this man was tried before me on a charge of street ruffianism.

RANKIN. So he told me. He was badly broat up, I am afraid. But he is now a converted man.

LADY CICELY. Of course he is. His telling you so frankly proves it. You know, really, Howard, all those poor people whom you try are more sinned against than sinning. If you would only talk to them in a friendly way instead of passing cruel sentences on them, you would find them quite nice to you. [Indignantly] I won't have this poor man trampled on merely because his mother brought him up as a Hooligan. I am sure nobody could be nicer than he was when he spoke to us.

SIR HOWARD. In short, we are to have an escort of Hooligans commanded by a filibuster. Very well, very well. You will most likely admire all their faces; and I have no doubt at all that they will admire yours.

Captain Brassbound's Conversion

SIR HOWARD. In short, we are to have an escort of Hooligans commanded by a filibuster..."
Sir Howard Hallam is, according to Felix Drinkwater, the "enginest jadge in Hingland" (hangingest judge in England).
Drinkwater, is, according to Hallam, a Hooligan "this man was tried before me on a charge of street ruffianism!", and is mate on Captain Brassbound's ship, Thanksgiving.
Brassbound is the filibuster.

Yes. I had half the first act copied into the comment box, then decided that was a bit much.

The play is from 1900, for the record.

Yep...OED:

-----
Etymology: The ultimate source is certainly the Dutch vrijbuiter in Kilian vrij-bueter (see FREEBOOTER n.). It is not clear whether the 16th cent. English form flibutor, of which we have only one example, was taken from Dutch directly or through some foreign language. Late in the 18th cent. the French form flibustier was adopted into English, and continued to be used, with occasional variations of spelling, until after the middle of the nineteenth century. About 1850–54, the form filibuster, < Spanish filibustero, began to be employed as the designation of certain adventurers who at that time were active in the West Indies and Central America; and this has now superseded the earlier flibustier even with reference to the history of the 17th cent.

The mutual relation of the forms is involved in obscurity. It is possible that the corruption of fri- into fli- may be due to the influence of the word FLY-BOAT n. (Dutch vlieboot, whence French flibot, Spanish flibote); but against this it may be urged that in our first quot. the word seems to be applied to marauders on land. In French the form fribustier (which may be a corruption of English freebooter) occurs in Du Tertre Hist. des Ant-Isles (1667) III. 151; but flibustier is apparently first recorded in A. O. Oexmelin (Esquemeling) Hist. des Avanturiers (1686); this writer says that it comes from the English flibuster ‘corsair’; in the earlier ed. of the work in Dutch (1678) the word does not occur. It is possible on the one hand that the corrupt form of the Dutch word may be of English origin, and may have been taken into French from its use in the English colonies in the West Indies; or, on the other hand, that the French form arose in the European wars of the 16th cent., and is the immediate source of Garrard's flibutor. In any case the insertion of the s probably originated in French as a mere sign of vowel-length, though from the Dictionnaire de Trévoux we learn that the s was already pronounced in 1704. In the Dict. étymologique of Ménage (who died in 1692), s.v. flibot, the form flibutier occurs, with the explanation (doubtless erroneous) ‘celui qui gouverne un flibot’. The Spanish filibustero is presumably < French flibustier.
-----

First use in the US congressional record as an noun describing the procedural act is 1890.

I'm impressed by JanieM's powers of recollection.

Being able to look this up online reminds me of the damage done by very long copyright. I'd rant about that if it weren't for the importance of the subject we're supposed to be discussing.

Being able to look this up online reminds me of the damage done by very long copyright. I'd rant about that if it weren't for the importance of the subject we're supposed to be discussing.

That's a very rant-worthy subject, with wide and varied ramifications. Maybe we can have a post on it at some point.

Maybe even a guest post....[on copyright]? Lawyers, musicians, writers, bloggers, all users of the internet -- lots of people with a stake in and/or knowledge about that issue.

Okay, I'll stop now and let the stated topic unfold.

Just in case anyone is unfamiliar with the use of concordances, I find that their use makes very short work of searching a word, or phrase, in the works of authors who have had concordances compiled. Here is one list, at any rate, but there are plenty of others. As an experiment, I searched "filibuster" in "all works" of GBS, and it gave the answer in about 5 seconds.

http://victorian-studies.net/concordance.html

The substance isn't that impressive. But the title is hard to beat:
McConnell threatens to hold the Senate hostage unless he can keep holding the Senate hostage

end it.

it does no good and further separates the actual working of our government from how people think it should work.

see also: electoral college, caucuses, the primary system.

The kicker is, of course, that Schumer has to find a bill that all 50 members of his caucus are willing to relax the filibuster over. Most people assume that he's going to push HR1 (the big voting rights bill) for that role. We don't have any idea what HR1 will look like when it comes out of committee, and which Senators might take strong exception to parts of it.

Full disclosure: I have sent e-mail to both my Democratic Senators telling them that there needs to be work done on the bill. I assert that it's written assuming a traditional election infrastructure: relatively many polling places and an absentee by-mail system overlaid on it. It does not reflect the situation in the western vote-by-mail states: everyone, or almost everyone, gets a mail ballot and there are a very few voting centers that handle the special cases (Hawaii's shiny new system has eight in-person voting locations for the entire state).

Josh Marshall has something behind the paywall that echoes what Michael said (and Michael suggests where to look for objections) and also points out that even though this is inevitable, it really should be out in the open.

This is all highly frustrating because we’re forced to read these tea leaves about something that may seem like the arcane technicalities of Senate procedure but actually determines whether elected majorities will govern and whether the Biden legislative agenda ended earlier this month or is just beginning.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/hints-and-shadows


As practiced nowadays, the filibuster is a mechanism for the representatives of a minority of the population to bring the process of legislation to a halt. And, at little or no cost to themselves. More than that, not even at any inconvenience to themselves.

It may have served some useful purpose at some point. At the moment, it's dysfunctional.

Change it or get rid of it.

"The old filibuster is hereby abolished.

If a group of Senators wish to halt legislation, they must announce their intention to do so.

After which, all legislation is halted while
that group of Senators are individually waterboarded on the floor of the Senate.
The waterboarding will continue until one
side gives in.

Both parties agree that they should start with Sen. Cruz"

John Scalzi has plenty to say about copyrights: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2021/03/07/two-tweet-threads-about-copyright/

...the filibuster is a mechanism for the representatives of a minority of the population to bring the process of legislation to a halt.

More precisely, the filibuster is a mechanism for the representatives of a minority of the states to bring the process of legislation to a halt.

The difference being, that with a half-way sane Republican Party, the Ds will usually be elected by the majority of the population but a minority of the states.

My position on copyright:

If people are making money from someone’s creative work, the person who made the work should be one of those people.

fun fact from Wiki's article on the filibuster:

The amount of bills passed by the Senate has cratered: in the 85th Congress in 1957-59, over 25% of all bills introduced in the Senate were eventually passed into law; by 2005, that number had fallen to 12.5%, and by 2010, only 2.8% of introduced bills became law—a 90% decline from 50 years prior.

Perhaps they are nearing market saturation...

Yeah but you work under the assumption that passing bills is a good thing and not a necessary and hopefully rare evil. All necessary laws (apart from tax cuts and moral restrictions) already exist plus a lot of laws and regulations that should not. Therefore the only function left is to abolish supernumerary ones and then only to pass more tax cuts and updates to traditonal discriminatory legal practices (and most of the latter can be left to the states and the courts anyway).

If people are making money from someone’s creative work, the person who made the work should be one of those people.

Absolutely. But the extent to which the adult children of the person who made the work should be, and for how long? Rather a different question.

Nicely done, Hartmut!

"All necessary laws (apart from tax cuts and moral restrictions) already exist plus a lot of laws and regulations that should not." I thought I was reading Charles.

It's a mickey mouse situation when a corporation has a forever copyright to Micky Mouse©.

Actually, the John Scalzi link that Gary K provided had a lot of very pertinent and interesting stuff, including unusually thoughtful comments below. The consensus seemed to be that the lifetime of the artist should be non-negotiable, but that (if practicable to change current law, and it probably isn't) the span of time after the death of the artist could reasonably do with some reduction (say from life+50 years down to life+25 years). The concern about the issue was not so much adult children, but the remaining spouse/children if the artist dies young.

Tax cuts should be paired with spending cuts. And morals have no business being codified in law.

morals have no business being codified in law.

IF you make a very, very careful definition of "morals." But in general?

For example, murder is clearly immoral. Should that keep it from being illegal? I'm pretty sure you don't think any such thing. But that requires being a bit more explicit about which morals you are talking about. (And, once you do, support for your position may well skyrocket.)

All unwarranted aggression against property should be a crime. If you assume people own themselves, then all crime could be characterized as some form of property crime.

i am not a property.

words have meanings.

Madison on super majority requirements for passing legislation...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster_in_the_United_States_Senate#Constitutional_design:_simple_majority_voting
... In all cases where justice or the general good might require new laws to be passed, or active measures to be pursued, the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed. It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority. Were the defensive privilege limited to particular cases, an interested minority might take advantage of it to screen themselves from equitable sacrifices to the general weal, or, in particular emergencies, to extort unreasonable indulgences...

Hamilton even better (I’ve always loved ‘junto’j.

... To give a minority a negative upon the majority (which is always the case where more than a majority is requisite to a decision), is, in its tendency, to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser. ... The necessity of unanimity in public bodies, or of something approaching towards it, has been founded upon a supposition that it would contribute to security. But its real operation is to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice, or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent, or corrupt junto, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority. In those emergencies of a nation, in which the goodness or badness, the weakness or strength of its government, is of the greatest importance, there is commonly a necessity for action. The public business must, in some way or other, go forward. If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority, respecting the best mode of conducting it, the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority; and thus the sense of the smaller number will overrule that of the greater, and give a tone to the national proceedings. Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good. And yet, in such a system, it is even happy when such compromises can take place: for upon some occasions things will not admit of accommodation; and then the measures of government must be injuriously suspended, or fatally defeated. It is often, by the impracticability of obtaining the concurrence of the necessary number of votes, kept in a state of inaction. Its situation must always savor of weakness, sometimes border upon anarchy..

so Madison and Hamilton must have been time travelers. how else could they know exactly how the filibuster would work? i mean, unless they had seen it before and deliberately avoided adding such a lever to the Constitution...

nah.

And is not ‘cloture’ one if the ugliest words extant ?

i believe it's a portmanteau of 'cloaca' and 'suture', meaning "to sew another's asshole shut".

If people are making money from someone’s creative work, the person who made the work should be one of those people.

I see nothing wrong with this (and yes, the Scalzi remarks were quite insightful, and um, brusque). However, the problem seems to arise when this "right" is sold/transferred to somebody or something else that could, with the aid of good legal advise, last essentially in perpetuity. Perhaps if the concern is really about widows and orphans, the Public should have the right of first refusal upon the originator's passing.

But a better society (mentioned by Scalzi) is the best solution, but you know I would plump for something like that in any event.

My solution to the filibuster is to abolish the Senate. Simply put, it is not performing the duties of a legislative body, serving only to block/pass judicial and executive appointments and otherwise meddle in affairs at the whim of the Majority Leader.

The space in the Capitol building could more usefully be put to use to house an expanded House of Representatives.

As with most things, my solution most likely will not come to pass any time soon, but the country is still young.

All unwarranted aggression against property should be a crime.

The initial creation of landed property arose from the use of force against the Commons. In this sense, property itself is the creation of an act of unwarranted aggression.

We are all living, essentially rent free, on land that was stolen.

i believe it's a portmanteau of 'cloaca' and 'suture', meaning "to sew another's asshole shut".

LOL!

That hadn’t occurred to me, and is quite brilliant.

Just noting here that "the artist should be one of the people benefitting from the artist's work" is not necessarily the same thing as copyright for the life of the artist. Creative Commons licenses help delineate a lot of other possible approaches to this. It could mean that the artist has the rights over "the work" but is only entitled to a share from particular classes of derivative works and that others are allowed to borrow with attribution and modify (within agreed limits) without infringing on copyright. That would still uphold the principles behind Scalzi's statement about the artist and the artist's family having a share in the work.

And open source economy could work so long as there were some robust enforcement mechanisms in place.

And I am not advocating that creators lose control of their IP. I'm looking for ethical ways to stretch the cultural reach of creators' work.

All of the "life+X" copyright schemes are harmful to the public, for the simple reason that it may be near-impossible to track down an author and find out when they died.

Lots of works (here I'm thinking more like "manuals" rather than "novels") are of utility limited in audience and time, and should enter public domain sooner rather than later.

That is why I advocate that, however long copyright is to last, it should require periodic renewal, so that there's a RECORD of when it was last renewed, and when it goes public.

Scalzi, as great a novelist as he is, has a very parochial view of copyright.

But the extent to which the adult children of the person who made the work should be, and for how long?

I’m not particularly invested in copyright extending beyond the life of the creator.

That said, are there any other forms of property about which we would ask the same question?

That said, are there any other forms of property about which we would ask the same question?

Patents granted to "persons" real or otherwise?

And I am not advocating that creators lose control of their IP. I'm looking for ethical ways to stretch the cultural reach of creators' work.

As Daryl Hall said in a discussion of a Hall and Oates tune that had been sampled and repurposed as part of a rap song:

There’s nothing more flattering than somebody wanting to use your stuff. Please do. But you gotta pay me.

Lots of works (here I'm thinking more like "manuals" rather than "novels")

There is some benefit (in the "general good" sense) to copyrights on manuals. In particular, it can help reduce the instances of fake manuals which cause problems. Particularly if you are the poor slob trying to do support, and the user has gotten into trouble following bogus instructions.

Micky Mouse©.

In my perfect world, copyrights and patents would go to the public domain in some reasonable period. Once in the public domain, they would be available for anyone to use.

If that use generates revenue, however, royalties are still due, and would be paid to the public. Perhaps in the form of funding for support of public institutions in whatever the domain of the copyright or patent was.

If it’s “owned by the public”, pay the public.

And hell, if the mouse had to pay into the commons for use of all that, part of what they paid into the commons could go to pay the authors that they are currently not paying for the licensed material that they are publishing for free, having acquired another company (i.e. Alan Dean Foster's Star Wars titles).

The money should go to the creators first, not to the second-hand rentiers.

An early example of how patents slowed and blocked innovation.

"In fact, it is only after their patents expired that Boulton and Watt really started to manufacture steam engines. Before then their activity consisted primarily of extracting hefty monopolistic royalties through licensing. Independent contractors produced most of the parts, and Boulton and Watt merely oversaw the assembly of the components by the purchasers.
...
Was Watt's patent a crucial incentive needed to trigger his inventive genius, as the traditional history suggests? Or did his use of the legal system to inhibit competition set back the industrial revolution by a decade or two? More broadly, are the two essential components of our current system of intellectual property — patents and copyrights — with all of their many faults, a necessary evil we must put up with to enjoy the fruits of invention and creativity? Or are they just unnecessary evils, the relics of an earlier time when governments routinely granted monopolies to favored courtiers? That is the question we seek to answer."

James Watt: Monopolist

how patents slowed and blocked innovation.

Because, of course, trade/company secrets (the existance of which are what motivated the patent system) did so much to expand it.
/sarcasm

the relics of an earlier time when governments routinely granted monopolies to favored courtiers?

have you ever actually applied for, or received, a patent?

have you ever create copyrighted material?

the process is not a matter of the government 'granting monopolies to favored courtiers'.

my exposure to this stuff is mostly via being a performing musician. I don't write songs, I have very little licensed recorded performances floating around out there in the world. I have a day job, it's not a matter of concern for me, personally. But I know a lot of people who derived a significant part of their income from copyrighted material.

It's actually really freaking hard to make a living as a creative artist. It's even harder nowadays, because the common medium for publishing your work is digital, which is trivially easy to duplicate.

for 'duplicate', kindly read 'steal'.

people should be paid for their work. copyrights and patents make it possible for people to actually get paid, because they provide some recourse for people whose work would otherwise be stolen.

that, in a nutshell, is the value of copyright and patent.

if you have a better way to make sure that people who do original work, of whatever kind, can actually make a living from it, I'm sure we're all ears.

something to ponder next time you feel inclined to complain about paying a freaking dollar for a recording you're going to listen to a few hundred times.

have you ever actually applied for, or received, a patent?

Is it hard? I was thinking of applying for a patent on the filibuster. The demand seems to be out there.

something to ponder....

Indeed. Here's another: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Have a good day!

Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need

Two-way street, that.

Is it hard? I was thinking of applying for a patent on the filibuster. The demand seems to be out there.

I've been the named inventor on five patents that were granted. The complete task is at least time-consuming, assuming you have all the requisite skills (ability to write in the appropriate stilted language, prepare suitable drawings, due diligence on prior art including at least a patent search). The costs will run to some thousands of dollars if you don't. The PTO says no to almost all initial requests, so you have to be prepared to provide a defense early on.

I worked for a giant corporation that patented innovative things for defensive purposes: if we held a patent, no one was going to win a case where they ordered us to cease-and-desist or pony up exorbitant fees. If we had been offensive with them, we could have gone after Microsoft at least once. They had built an entire test lab around the kind of device I had patented and were clearly infringing. They had obviously looked into it. In the Wired article about their lab, the manager used one of the particularly flowery phrases about the device I had included in the patent text.

Two-way street, that.

Yes. I believe that is the point.

Some common sense on the filibuster here.

With all of the stuff hitting the fan these days, it's easy to overlook the CANKER that is our ongoing everlasting Afghan policy.

Maybe it is time to filibuster the Defense Appropriations Bill. A guy can dream, can't he?

This opinion piece by Ruth Marcus in yesterday's WaPo headlined Kill the Filibuster and Reap What You Sow interested me, because while I think the Dems have to end it, or at least change the rules, to get anything really significant done, there are (as we have discussed) real dangers. And she is writing from a point of view which is clearly sympathetic to the policy aims which most of us here at ObWi support. The reason I bring this up, is to see, for example, if the views of someone like cleek (if he or anyone else feels like chiming in), who had severe doubts about doing it, have evolved much since we last spoke about it.

Another response is that damage is asymmetric: The filibuster harms Democrats more than it does Republicans because Democrats have more interest in passing legislation, not simply blocking or undoing it. By contrast, Republicans’ top priorities, cutting taxes and confirming judges, can be accomplished by majority vote, thanks to budget reconciliation rules and the end of the judicial filibuster. Maybe, but even the partial list at the top of this column should give progressives pause. [Referenced partial list: truly dystopian IMO]

When I posted that, I hadn't read bobbyp's Norman Ornstein link @10.30 yet. It seems to me to offer a few extremely sensible and positive options.

my view is: kill the filibuster.

don't just modify it; kill it outright. it's the disaster it is today because of a series of adjustments designed to make weaken its power. but it's only become more powerful at each turn.

just kill it. if the GOP gets to pass legislation, so be it. that's how the system is supposed to work. if people don't like what the GOP passes, they'll at least know who to blame. if people don't like what Dems pass, they'll know that too.

but the current system is garbage. the minority gets to hide behind procedure while the majority gets blamed for doing nothing. and then the sides switch and people just tune out because nothing ever gets done.

let the system work.

remove the blockage.

let the legislative peristalsis work its magic.

Wow - that is an evolution of opinion. Thanks for response cleek. And I seem to be evolving slightly in an opposite direction: regarding what you say about recent adjustments, many (if I have understood them correctly) seemed designed to strengthen its power (except in the case of the judicial appointments), as opposed to weaken it. It seems to me like some of Ornstein's suggestions could achieve a lot, while still preserving some of the original intent, and even more importantly, get done with much less opposition.

I hadn’t quite realised the extent of voter ignorance over the issue.
The details of the filibuster always seemed arcane to be, but for a large slice of the US electorate, they are virtually unknown.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/03/how-filibuster-killed-accountability-congress/618346/

I’m with clerk; kill the filibuster.
Of course McConnell will find other ways to screw with the system, but at least it would have then to be out in the open.

there are (as we have discussed) real dangers [to ending the filibuster]

Though not always the ones imputed. For example, when McConnell says that, if the Democrats end the filibuster, he will launch a scorched earth campaign, he has it exactly backwards. The scorched earth campaign he has already been conducting for over a decade is the reason for ending it.

As for his threat to enact a slew of reactionary laws, if he thought he had the votes, he would have abolished the filibuster himself long since. Nobody who is paying attention can believe he cares about the traditions of the Senate; for him the rules are just an expedient means to exercise power.

Absolutely. But the extent to which the adult children of the person who made the work should be, and for how long? Rather a different question.

Why shouldn't artist's children make money of their parents' creations. Many people are born into wealth and sometimes that wealth goes back hundreds of years - yet nobody is asking them to give up their money, real estate, shares whathaveyou.

So why single out artists?

Ok, just to preempt the obvious: some people are asking for a radical redistribution of wealth, but firstly in reality we are as far from this as ever and secondly their targets are usually very wealthy people, say 50 million plus - while the average artist living off royalties is hardly in that league.

Many people are born into wealth and sometimes that wealth goes back hundreds of years - yet nobody is asking them to give up their money, real estate, shares whathaveyou.

So why single out artists?

So what you're saying, as I understand it, is that since we cannot solve the whole problem, we shouldn't address any part of it.

Wow - that is an evolution of opinion.

hmm.

i'm not sure i've evolved at all.

2010:

if the Dems were to "make them talk" on this, the GOP would do the talking and the Dems would break. and then when the next bill came up, they'd threaten to do it again. and the Dems would cave. and we'd be right back to where we are now.

if the Dems were serious about governing, they'd get rid of the filibuster completely. 50 votes is a good enough threshold for legislation. right now, the Senate is broken. anti-Democratic and dysfunctional.
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i'm sure i've said something about how useful it is for the minority to have as a tool. and i seem to recall thinking that when the GOP killed it for SCOTUS nominees that that move would come back to haunt them. but as a rule... it's always been dumb, IMO. useful, sure, but dumb.

On one hand, we have businesses trying to patent everything that isn’t nailed down, as a way to thwart competitors.

On the other hand, we have streaming services making billions from recorded material and paying artists pennies. Literally, in some cases.

When we talk about IP, we’re talking about 1,000 different kinds of cases. There probably isn’t one way of thinking about this stuff that does justice to all parties, in all situations.

If somebody is making money off of somebody else’s creative work, the creator deserves a piece of it. I don’t really care all that much how that gets structured in terms of the law. Whatever works.

But a solution where somebody makes fortunes from somebody else’s work, while the creator gets bupkis, is not a good solution.

The scorched earth campaign he has already been conducting for over a decade is the reason for ending it.

McConnell is an expert at telling the world that the GOP is the victim, while he's wiping the blood off his dagger.

Wow - that is an evolution of opinion.

You might have confused this issue with cleek's rather vehement opposition to packing the Courts (including Supreme Court) with real judges as opposed to essentially fascist ideological hacks.

'dunno the extent to which he may or may not have come around on that one. :) there is always hope.

i'm sure i've said something about how useful it is for the minority to have as a tool.

the tool for the minority is fair and free elections, preservation and protection of the essential rights as set forth in various amendments to the constituion (nothing is perfect, i guess), and winning elections.

norman aside, the senate filibuster needs to be destroyed.

So why single out artists?

fair question, but you are addressing somebody (me) who believes large fortunes should be pretty much out of the question via rules that work against acquiring them in the first place (preferred) or nosebleed level estate taxes (last resort).

large fortunes should be pretty much out of the question via rules that work against acquiring them in the first place (preferred)

I keep trying to construct metaphors about this, like: would the collective "we" let someone divert and wall off a huge percentage of the country's drinking water supply, while other people died of thirst? Why is money any different....?

Then I remember that the equivalent has in fact happened in the form of polluted rivers, failure to provide safe public water (Flint MI), the Cuyahoga river so filthy it burned....

hmm.

i'm not sure i've evolved at all.

When I read this I thought I must have gone mad.

You might have confused this issue with cleek's rather vehement opposition to packing the Courts (including Supreme Court) with real judges as opposed to essentially fascist ideological hacks.

When I read this, I thought "Ooops". Quite right, that was the issue I was remembering. Sorry cleek!

'dunno the extent to which he may or may not have come around on that one. :) there is always hope.

still don't like. and i don't see anywhere near enough support for, so i'm not worried about.

Sorry cleek!

no problem! i was hoping i hadn't 180'd myself on that one :)

As for his threat to enact a slew of reactionary laws, if he thought he had the votes, he would have abolished the filibuster himself long since.

This. He couldn't produce 50 votes to defund Obamacare when it mattered. There's no reason to believe he could produce 50 for an abortion ban, or to lift all restrictions on firearms.

if DiFi is talking about reform, we're getting close to getting reform.

large fortunes should be pretty much out of the question

What if we aren’t talking about ‘large fortunes’? What if we’re talking about people cobbling together a middle class income from a lifetime of creative work?

This is obviously something I have a strong opinion about, and I’m happy to let it go for now. But folks are focusing on the likes of Disney. Most folks who make a living from creative work aren’t Disney. They’re just people trying to make a living.

Most folks don’t have a problem with, for instance, somebody building up a small business and leaving it to their kids. I’m hard pressed to see the difference between that, and somebody building a portfolio of copyrighted creative work over a lifetime and leaving that to their kids.

Whether any of that should happen or not is a different question. But if it’s legitimate to do one, it should be legitimate to do the other. IMO.

Most folks don’t have a problem with, for instance, somebody building up a small business and leaving it to their kids.

A business (small or even medium sized) that they will need to work in to make a living from? No problem at all, as far as I'm concerned. But something (business, art works, or whatever) where they can just kick back and live off the proceeds? Not so much.

Fund the kids (if any) until they're, say, age 25 or have finished their education? Absolutely. Support the surviving spouse? Also OK. It's beyond that where I get a bit twitchy.

Most folks don’t have a problem with, for instance, somebody building up a small business and leaving it to their kids.

I understand you point. I am not arguing for abolishing copyright. However, "small" is carrying a lot of the baggage there. Most small businesses are just another way for somebody to buy a job...and for not a whole lot of income in the bargain. Most of them fail within 5 years because they are just about always undercapitalized. Most songwriters don't write Top 100 hits. Most poetry barely gets published, much less sold. If the creator dies without making a dime from their works, then leaving the rights to the kids is fine by me, but what if the "public domain" could buy the rights to the work? Seems fair to me. Win win. So the offspring get some dough up front and we are not subjected to 100+ years of copyright infringement hell by some entity that is simply extracting economic rents and the long dead creator and most likely their offspring as well have departed this earth, and would never have seen a dime of the royalties in any event....because they sold out.

But again, I reiterate I do understand your point. It's like a lot of stuff....it's a question of just whose ox is getting gored here?

And most folks are focusing on the likes of Disney for a very sound reason. IMO.

Thanks.

The discussion got me curious about what happened to Robert Heinlein's stuff, which still sells briskly. He and his wife left their assets, including all the copyrights, to create a couple of nonprofits, both formed for encouraging commercial space flight.

I am in the middle on this, I think. Creators should be able to make money off of their creations. Successful creators should also give something back to the commons to create a robust culture for other creators.

As for my mention of Disney earlier, the back story on that is largely covered here:

https://www.sfwa.org/2020/11/18/disney-must-pay/

Scalzi is past president of the SFWA (my wife is also a member) and I'm sure this is much on his mind when he talks about IP. We need a system whereby creators are not reliant upon rentier media conglomerates to get a small fraction of the value they produce for their work. It would be nice if the rentiers got the thin end instead of the fat one.

Most songwriters don't write Top 100 hits

Yeah, that’s no small part of my point.

I have a friend who is a composer. Most of his work is sacred choral music. A recording of one of his pieces won a Grammy. You have, I am more than sure, never heard of him.

I have another friend who is an exceptional guitarist. He’s played on recordings that have won Grammies. You’ve never heard of him. One of his funniest stories is about doing one of the Grammy-winning sessions, complete with limo and catering, coming home, and then the next day playing with an amateurish folk duo in front of the rotisserie chicken counter at Whole Foods.

I have another friend who was a founding member of a band that was signed to a major label. You’ve likely never heard of him, or them. Every now and then their stuff gets used on TV shows or similar. He’s now in the band of a significant blues artist, and is in the live band of a significant Nashville songwriter. He also paints houses as a day job when he’s not touring.

He and a number of other A-list players who also paint houses have kind of a joke - whoever had the best gig on the weekend, has to paint the shittiest thing on Monday. Not infrequently, it’s the wall behind a toilet. They call it “the humbler”.

I worked for several years with a Boston area songwriter. You’ve never heard of him. His stuff gets used on TV shows now and then, and also gets play on indie Americana channels. He works as a park ranger in the summer.

I have another friend who has scored a number of films, mostly independent and documentary work. You’ve never heard of him, and with one or two exceptions have probably never heard of the films.

All of these people derive some part of their household income and wealth from royalties of one kind or other, either composer / songwriter royalties, or mechanicals as performers. None of these people are wealthy.

People, people other than my friends, make money from their work. My position in all of this is that they should get some of that money. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. And, if we’re going to have policies that let people pass their property along their kids, it is beyond me why the IP that these folks have in their creative work should be exempt from that.

What they do is valuable. Which is to say, it generates a revenue stream. That money flows to somebody. Why it should not flow to them, and once they’re gone, to their kids, is not really clear to me.

If we want to say fine, whatever revenue-generating thing you create during your lifetime is yours while you’re alive, but it ends when you pass, so be it. But we don’t say that. Or, we only say it about some things.

Sock a million bucks away in a trust, or create a business that outlives you, and we’re all good with handing that off to your kids. Build a portfolio of creative work, however, and there is a time limit on that.

What’s the difference? That’s my question.

Also:

what if the "public domain" could buy the rights to the work? Seems fair to me. Win win. So the offspring get some dough up front and we are not subjected to 100+ years of copyright infringement hell by some entity that is simply extracting economic rents

FWIW, I’d have no problem with this.

Dean Baker has come up with a public policy for this issue that I believe has a great deal of merit and directly (I believe) addresses Russell's concerns.

You can read it here.

What’s the difference?

The difference could be that a copyright is a monopoly created and enforced by the state, In terms of the big picture, there are costs to both the state and society as a result of this relationship (higher prices to consumers, enforcement costs, etc). Neither a trust nor an inherited business have a license in perpetuity. The trust fund can be blown with bad investments or simple greed. A business you did not build from the ground up can be trashed and bankrupt in short order. But the royalties always roll in, regardless as ideally, the state is there to force payment. That copyright (and patent) duration is thus generally truncated does not strike me (or just about anybody) as surprising or inherently unfair when viewed in this light.

What is unfair is the technology that makes copying and distribution of these works essentially costless. This also makes enforcement extremely costly and difficult (Dean touches on this as well).

But yes, the work of creators is valuable...no doubt about that!

An approach to music distribution and royalty payments.

"One technology has the promising potential to ease the industry's woes: blockchain. Artists like Lupe Fiasco, Gramatik and Pitbull have advocated for decentralized technologies in music, and proponents champion blockchain's distributed ledger technology as a way to efficiently release music, streamline royalty payments, eliminate expensive middlemen and establish a point of origin for music creators. Which is to say blockchain can re-establish the way music is produced, bought, sold, listened to and managed in a fair and transparent way.

With that in mind, we've rounded up 17 examples of how blockchain technology is re-molding and reinvigorating the music industry."
17 Blockchain Music Companies Reshaping a Troubled Industry

a quick note, made a separate post about copyright etc. Feel free to wander over there.

Sock a million bucks away in a trust, or create a business that outlives you, and we’re all good with handing that off to your kids. Build a portfolio of creative work, however, and there is a time limit on that.... What’s the difference? That’s my question.

It's all arbitrary. Create a literary work, get life plus 70 years, protection provided automatically at no cost to the creator. Create a new molecule that saves lives, get 20 years, considerable effort and money required to gain protection. Create a new bit of math worth billions -- eg, something better than neural networks for object recognition in images -- and get bupkis.

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