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Print 27 comment(s) - last by polishvendetta.. on Aug 23 at 9:23 AM

Patent reform will take a bit longer to come about

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has taken its fair share of criticism of late, with some calling it a "broken" system.  Verdicts like the $1.92M USD verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset for sharing 24 songs (eventually reduced to $220,000 USD) or Apple, Inc. (AAPLthreatening to sue the New York City for using an Apple in a city greening campaign logo (Apple has sued other companies for using images of the fruit, claiming it owns trademark rights to all corporate artistic depictions of the fruit) have many convinced that the copyright system is in need of reform.

In a new request for public comment, that's part of a broader 122-page report, dubbed "Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy" [PDF], the Internet Policy Task Force -- a U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) working group -- writes:

In recent years, the debates over copyright have become increasingly contentious. Too often copyright and technology policies are seen as pitted against each other, as if a meaningful copyright system is antithetical to the innovative power of the Internet, or an open Internet will result in the end of copyright. We do not believe such a dichotomy is necessary or appropriate.

It alludes to recent audits which revealed rampant abuse of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act [PDF] (DMCA), including some businesses using fraudulent DMCA copyright infringement claims to temporarily takedown rival websites.  

Copyright Pirates
Copyright wars have raged for over a century in the U.S. as law clashed with new technologies.

The working group writes:

Establishing a multistakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system for removing infringing content from the Internet under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The Task Force says it will "convene roundtable" sessions of public, corporate leaders, and copyright watchdog groups (e.g. the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)).  It also says it will "solicit public comment".  The paper offered no details on when or where the public can take advantage of these opportunities, but it advises interested citizens to "stay tuned for announcements."

At this point some of you may be thinking -- "Great, that covers copyright, but what about patents?"

Recall, with government bureaucracy and public indignation there's a certain latency/suffering period between whenever things go to the metaphorical Hades in a hand basket and when the government finally feels compelled to take action.  The copyright wars largely raged in the early 2000s.  By 2010 the RIAA had mostly scuttled its campaign of threat letters against citizens and while flashy infringement battles continued to emerge, much of the worse abuses were already said and done.

Likewise the smartphone patent battles, and the general rise in patent trolling in the software industry -- a present tense battle that emerged in full effect around 2010 -- may not be resolved with reform until 2020 or later, perhaps.

Source: USPTO [PDF]



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Easy
By sprockkets on 8/20/2013 4:12:35 PM , Rating: 4
Return back to the original standard - what was it, 15 or 20 years at the most. Done.

Of course with the NSA debacle copyright laws kinda took a place on the back burner...




RE: Easy
By ritualm on 8/20/2013 5:15:42 PM , Rating: 3
Ban lobbying groups from all political activity.

Kill the Mickey Mouse law.

20 years for both copyrights and patents, allowing for one extension (or, for the layman, 40 years combined tops), after which they belong to the public.


RE: Easy
By therealnickdanger on 8/21/2013 6:14:41 AM , Rating: 2
I would be happy if the laws changed so you could not patent ideas on napkins, math, biology, or research (giant clumps of ideas). Limit it to functional products and works of art.


RE: Easy
By vXv on 8/21/2013 8:19:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
allowing for one extension


Why?


RE: Easy
By Flunk on 8/21/2013 9:15:28 AM , Rating: 3
The extension should be required to originate from the original author too, not anyone else. If they're dead, then no extension.


RE: Easy
By Da W on 8/20/2013 8:45:16 PM , Rating: 2
Copyright everything you post on the internet then sue the NSA.


RE: Easy
By vXv on 8/21/2013 8:19:08 AM , Rating: 2
I have no idea on how this is handled by US law but here in Austria you automatically have copyright for everything you write unless it is "insignificant". I'd expect the US law to be similar.


RE: Easy
By boobo on 8/20/2013 10:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
Changing the length of time is not the most important issue. Checks and balances are the basis of US law, but they don't exist in copyright. A copyright owner should be able to get fast and efficient results when they send a takedown claim to a site, but they should also be liable to a comparably harsh penalty if they abuse that with bogus claims.


RE: Easy
By superstition on 8/21/2013 4:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
14 years, but it was extended to 42 in the 19th century:

quote:
The Copyright Act of 1831 was the first general revision to United States copyright law. The bill is largely the result of lobbying efforts by American lexicographer Noah Webster.

The key changes in the Act included:

Extension of the original copyright term from 14 years to 28 years, with an option to renew the copyright for another 14 years

Addition of musical compositions to the list of statutorily protected works (though this protection only extended to reproductions of compositions in printed form; the public performance right was not recognized until later)

Extension of the statute of limitations on copyright actions from one year to two

Changes in copyright formality requirements


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