(Sorry this machine translation sucks. We'll fix it soon!)
I'm David Torcivia.
[0:02] I'm Daniel Forkner.
And this is Ashes Ashes, a show about systemic issues, collapse of the environment, cracks in civilization, and if we're unlucky, the end of the world.
[0:13] But if we learn from all of this maybe we can stop that the world might be broken but it doesn't have to be.
[0:20] Today I put together something special to start this episode and episode 33 that's we're getting pretty high up there and I'm proud of us so far we haven't missed a week yet so that's a. So I want to celebrate by making this episode of the most expensive piece of media ever created by mankind.
[0:39] Oh wow David I mean I knew that you had an artistic and a creative side but this is something I was not expecting excited.
[0:47] Yeah you sounded some of the shots aren't you going to ask how like what is it that we're going to do with with this I mean movies that they're going up to 300 million dollars four hundred million dollars make a movie Whatever It Is these days like that's a big thing.
[0:59] Wait till Howard how are you calling your own piece of artwork David the most expensive media piece I mean isn't value kind of does not come from.
[1:08] No I'm not I'm not even talking about like this is I mean every single work we create is very obviously Priceless and up but I'm not even talking about it in that context I'm talking raw dollars that were supposed to pay somebody else because of what I'm about to do.
[1:22] All that day I feel like as your co-host I should I should I have the right to agree.
[1:29] You and me we're on the hook for this I'll get no answer at this point this ship has sailed we're already gone for this it's not.
[1:35] Give me we have to pay for your artwork.
[1:37] 1 billion dollars this is going to be the ashes ashes 1 billion dollar. This is the ashes ashes 1 billion dollar episode Extravaganza are you ready cuz it's your pistol here we go ready 1/2.
[2:02] David I honestly I'm a little disappointed I feel like if I forgot to pay a billion dollars I feel like I should have gotten more out of it that's all.
[2:11] Well I mean we're definitely feeling a little bit jipped on this but maybe that's the point of what I'm trying to do here like aren't you going to ask what exactly you just heard what makes a sound like that cost 1 billion.
[2:23] Yeah baby what was that and why why is it so expensive.
[2:27] Well Daniel that leads us to the topic of today's episode this is something we've been working on for a while to personal pet of mine and at first it might sound boring but that noise will prove that it's anything but. Because this is the episode on IP and what you just heard. 4000 extremely popular extremely copyrighted songs overlaid on top of each other each one, valuable up to a $250,000 fine for illegal use of them right now violating the copyright owners of those songs, sell 4000 times $250,000 and we might be on the hook for 1 billion dollars.
[3:05] So this is payback David for all the episodes in the past where we wanted to add maybe something from YouTube or add a piece of media that might add value to the show but.
[3:36] Copyright a patents of all these things are going to explore throughout this episode what to really understand how we got into this place, where are the active downloading and listening to a song that you don't have the rights to. Could trigger a fine of a quarter million dollars for something that you could I mean by or $0.99 is really an interesting journey and has interesting effects on our entire culture how we interact with the idea of property of art of creativity and even if x on economy our health and much more.
[4:05] David real quick I don't know as much about intellectual property rights as you do but I did a little bit of research for the show and I think I understand the basic premise of what the purpose is.
Evolution Of Intellectual Property: A Brief History [4:17] Bunny run that by you real quick.
[4:19] Okay yeah educate me then.
[4:20] So I am an author and I want to write a book. But there's a problem I don't want to write a book if someone is going to be able to just copy me and then make money off of it. So in order for me to be incentivised to go ahead and write the Next Great American novel. I need to know the after I write this book I'm going to be protected no one can rip me off and I can make a little bit of money from it. But on the flip side of that if I'm given too much protection and it's my rights are too broad such that it prevents the ability for people to share the information that I create or to disseminate this idea will then Society does not benefit other people are locked out of creating similar things. And everyone is harmed at my expense therefore we need an equation or some kind of legal framework that balances these two interest. We need to provide some kind of incentive for me to create my fabulous work, and that's give something to society but we also need to strike a balance so that Society can then benefit even more from this work by sharing it and. Lack of a better word innovating does that sound about right David.
[5:33] Yeah more or less so modern interpretations of copyright are without this people could steal anything we create and if you steal something that somebody creates well then you have no reason to pray to in the first place because it's just going to be gone you can't profit off it. You can't live off of creation that so easily stolen so why would you waste time or opportunity cost if I'm these oldest Economist in this scenario bothering to create thing. Is make sense there is no Financial incentive there so therefore without the financial incentive the copyright or IP guarantees then we can't have creativity and innovation. That's how we interpret it now. But it wasn't always exactly like that the original terms of this very much are still in these ideas though they've mutated over the past couple decades especially in the latter part of the twentieth century but maybe we should jump back into the time before copyright.
[6:23] So there was a time before copyright.
[6:25] Jazz and we haven't always assumed everything we created and idea a piece of art by the mere Act of Creation became a piece of property to be protected from stealing to be only shared and certain specific ways that are guaranteed about the me know there was a time when we would create without any sort of impetus weird great because we had to cuz we need to and I'm going to argue for at this episode that this really hasn't changed. This was the way that we lived throughout most of human history, increase was a little bit different there were less people that could write if you were an author they were less people that could do art because you were busy trying to live a life outside of that but the creation has always existed and that has never gone away the only thing that changed was how we defined what those products that we create our and that went from this is something I made to this is something that I own.
[7:12] Interesting so so what was the world like before the creation of modern intellectual property right.
[7:18] City idea of modern copyright really started getting it start with him it's in the printing press and briefly before that I mean we had a lot of copying of sacred text of important ex of scientific text. This is mostly done by scribes sponsored by wealthy people reading books for wealthy people or for organizations like the church or various Courts for kingdoms. It was something that was just expected.
[7:42] But they did let me interrupt you real quick I mean I know that a lot of modern inventions and a lot of progress in the field of science. Art philosophy a lot of it came from actually members of the Church of England back in the Victorian area and maybe that's something we can talk about the I want to interrupt your narrative real quick because you mentioned the printing press came onto the scene before modern copyright in maybe that's part of the reason why we need modern copyright right is because those scribes you're describing that had to labor intensely to copy text because it was so hard to do and it required a massive education I imagine there was a lot of plagiarism going on in 1st.
[8:20] Actually it is interesting for no reason and I think one of the biggest one was the conceptual change that happened with the idea of copying cuz before this. There were like I said copy scribes and make them but they were in perfect sometimes they would miss a line they would be individual pieces of art each one unique slightly from each other only because a different hand rotates version of whatever text it was it was Illuminating different ways and though it was a copy it was a cop in the same way that a calf comes from a cow. It's a little bit different you can see it's related but it's not exactly the same and in fact this was the defense that was used in one of the first recorded battles over copyright. Yeah quite literally a battle this happened in early ancient Ireland between a king over this religious document I don't want to get too deep into it but somebody took this important document made a copy of it and sister to belong to some group and then the king said that no it doesn't just like a cat belongs to the caliper. This copy of the document belongs to the original document as well just because it's a copy doesn't mean it's liberated that someone else could take it. And of course once I disagreed another side said that no that's not right and they fought an actual battle over and over 3,000 people died this was in like 5:55 to 561 ad give or take depending on what source you're looking at here but I mean this is like at the very beginning people were literally fighting battles and dying over the idea of who owns what in this guy.
[9:44] David if I get a billion dollar bill in the mail as a result of your media peace at the beginning of the show I might want to go to battle to myself.
[9:52] Yeah Wars have been fought for much less than that that is absolutely for sure. Like I said everything changed with the invention of the printing press because how we thought about copies change. No longer were they said they different from the hands of different people unique to whatever describe graded it but these copies not only were they cheap to make and only where they quick to make but they were exact perfect copies. And I change the name of the game at least conceptually.
[10:20] But then David the printing press again came onto the scene and took the practice of copying text like you mentioned which was, previously very difficult to do and made it very easy and all the sudden you have a liberalization of knowledge and information where Ordinary People can now get their hands on these very important works of literature philosophy religious texts or whatever it is.
[10:43] Yeah the Pres was a huge shift in power from this very small educated intellectual class and especially the church and put it in the hands and anybody who could afford one of these copies which lost so expensive was so much less expensive than the very valuable books I'll come out of the scribes. And of course this also meant that sometimes knowledge that people didn't want out. Was being printed so heretical text things that they thought were maybe blasphemy or things that the various Kings didn't want people to read at the time.
[11:11] Or like the 95 Theses that Martin Luther wrote printed out and nailed to the front of his church.
[11:16] That we was a big-time of a people driven by the easy access of this knowledge and just like the creation of walls and borders rated smuggling or the crease no money really emphasize the creation of theft well the creation of the printing press introduce censorship in ways that we had never before seen. Into the very first laws introduced of i p a property of ideas were in fact the Licensing Laws introduced by churches and the Royal courts of the various countries of the time in order to limit what presses were allowed. They were official tax of banned books of books that were loud and you would pay the licensing fees to these various organizations in order to be able to print at all have the permission to make these copies. And it was all motivated about keeping text that people saw as unwanted out of the hands of every.
[12:02] Like a real quick set me straight on how licensing works so today if I write a novel I license it to the publisher is that true but it sounds like in the past the Publishers were licensing the rights to print something that is already available.
[12:16] Well it varies quite a bit in a very poor Nation the nation in Tavares today what kind of mediate is what country you're in and at the time is very quite a bit depending on what type of specific methodology that the Royal courts of these various places have put into effect but the basic idea was somebody would have a text but they wrote they would send it to the church or the court and the court would approve it or not approve it and then we print licensees to print this. To the various printing presses would pay for the ability in order to be able to print things at all and if you violated this this tax basically to print then you could be shut down often times with force and violence and this idea of Licensing printing presses carry out for many hundreds of years. Was part of the contention that happened here in the United States during the American Revolution as well as many places across the world has always been a sort of competition between. The forces of the state whatever state that isn't the time and those who are trying to publish information or knowledge or profit off the publication of this content.
[13:14] And this back and forth between the two eventually led to a modernization of these licensing issues because it was too hard to constantly approve or disapprove certain content and also there was a competition between creators the content Publishers the course at church and it was it got complicated so in 1710 England modernized everything with the introduction of the statute of an and this is the first piece of copyright legislation introduced in the West,
Statute Of Anne [13:40] that really Define the idea of. Intellectual property is what it's trying to do in gave us our modern ocean that we still have with us today along with some Concepts bar from the French which will get to in a little bit.
[13:51] And so the statute of and declare that any peasant who copies a piece of work will be required to pay a 250000 coin fine.
[14:00] No not exactly it took us a couple hundred years to get to a point where we started punishing people like that and actually it. That should have been at the time was instead not something introduced to punish people for copying but instead liberate because of the time copying have been sort of concentrated down into this Monopoly printers called the stationers company. Annotations company had ended up controlling basically all the licenses inability to print books and consequently because they had this Monopoly the books that printed were very expensive are they were that much access to them and they controlled most of the rights associated with these books and not the people who created them or the government or anything like that and so the statute of an was a reaction against it to try and return power from the Publishers to the creators and so the full title of this act was quote. An act for the encouragement of learning by vesting the copies of printed books in the authors or purchasers of such copies during the times they're in mentioned, so that's a mouthful.
[14:57] Well that's very interesting it then I don't want to steal your thunder and jump ahead but I mean that's very different from the type of copyright protection we have today where we tend to think of it as functioning as a way to basically preserve monopolies and, it sounds like the statute of Anne was trying to basically prevent what we have today.
[15:17] Yeah exactly and it will get to why this happened in just a little bit but this was really a reaction against the censorship and the licensing ability, it was a reaction to try and fix this very restricting legislation it actually created out of fear of these heretical works of of the need to censor things and try and return some power, back to people who wanted just to create and so the basic idea that it boils down to is that when you publish the book you were allowed to be the sole publisher for 14 years. And then it wanted the author could expand that limits publication time at the additional amount but and then grant that to the publisher but it did not by default belong to the publisher Dennis Mitchell 14 years to publisher had a monopoly on this specific printing but after that anybody can make a copy of Industry battousai soft. It also granted a 21 years of production for any book that was currently in French. And said everyone was happy for 14 or 21 years in in 21 years started coming up in the book publishers realized that their big source of money. This Monopoly in the books if they have been printing for at this point many decades was about to end and soon anybody could make copies of these books and the prices of the books if they were selling we're going to crash. May be bankrupt in and even though this meant that they were going to spread knowledge and education to all the people who wanted to read these books but can afford it they were more concerned about protecting their profits, Tristan of something called the battle of the books Sellers and this could be by its own episode 258 supercharged in history but it culminated in this court case called Donaldson for Speck in 1774.
[16:44] I'm guessing that the book sellers who read military tactics did a better job than the book sellers that focused on literature.
[16:51] I don't know damn. The readers of Sun Tzu.
[16:57] Yeah exactly.
[16:59] Donaldson versus Beckett in 1774 and there was a lord, lord Camden who was trying to defend the rights of authors and creators was eventually able to convince people that this is the right way to do it not to support the book publishers which it was everyone's initial Instinct and she had this quote and I just want to read this cuz I think it really well summarizes what the early ideas of intellectual property and copyright we're supposed to be in so I'm going to paraphrase this lightly but these are more or less quotes that he said. All are learning will be locked up in the hands of the book publishers at the age. Book sellers would be able to set up on books whatever price they pleased to the public became as much their slaves as their own Hackney compilers are. This perpetuity now continued for in the extension of copyright is as odious and as selfish as any other, it deserves as much reprobation it will become as intolerable knowledge and science are not things to be bound in such cobweb chain.
[17:56] Tell that to Modern academic journals David.
[17:59] Daniel I can really feel that you're just raring to go later on in this app. Off on the way that copyright has interacted with this today and we're going to get there I promised but it is when I get a little bit of his history out of the way so we understand how we got here in this first place I mean this is all going on in England at the time similar things started happening across Europe the very slow development of copyright in the ideas of intellectual, property in pants at the same time.
[18:21] David I actually have a concrete example and I know we've been talking about books and how intellectual property has been apply to information I guess in terms of text on a page but intellectual property really applies to so many different things and I want to bring up an example from Europe in the 18th century and that's James Watt. Many of you probably learned in grade school about how James Watt invented the steam engine and he applied for a patent for his steam engine in 1768, and eventually extended his patent to 1800 with the help of a rich friend who had some influence in Parliament and an interesting side note Edmund Burke actually got up on the floor Parliament and argued against allowing James Watt to extend his patent saying that it would result in unfair monopolies and all this but you know David what I think is really important about the steam engine story is that during the life of Watts Patton. Most of his time was spent either enforcing the patent or acquiring new ones to block Innovation from other inventors. So there was not a lot of innovation or even production of steam engines during the time that watt had a monopoly on the design but once the patent expire production of steam engines in the UK skyrocketed by 4300 per cent per year and fuel efficiency of steam engine quintuple.
[19:42] What is a continual that sounds for a second like maybe the application of this intellectual property law in this example that you're giving instead hurt the Innovation that it's supposed to be a string in the first place the ideas that were originally introduced. By the statute of an where this introduction of intellectual property was supposed to encourage the development of Arts and Science you telling me instead of this IP might have set back the production to steam engine and the corresponding development of the Industrial Revolution in UK by as much as 30 years.
[20:14] Oh yeah David actually that's one of the reasons I brought up James Watt because I I feel like when you look at the history of the steam engine and the way that he used the patent system to protect his Monopoly it really did setback the Industrial Revolution enormously which we can get into.
[20:30] But we'll get into that in a moment so quickly though I want to turn our attention to France before we explore the Industrial Revolution and how this played out
France [20:37] I'm in and I know I know this is a lot of history listeners but bear with us I promise it's going to be worth it because France in particular so important to Modern understanding of copyright because of the ideas that we have about copyright emerge from this Sprint conception of protecting the author instead of protecting the war, and the combination of this with the idea sit down the statute of an is what really defined modern copyright through today, and the basic idea of this is is that copyright sworn can be protected just solely. Fixed amount of years after the creation of it being protected for the length of the author's life plus an additional amount of years and the idea behind this was that authors are paying something valuable to society the contributing culture to us and so consequently we as consumers of this culture as members of the society need to return something to these authors in this form the licensing ability of their works and so by sending this piece of work throughout the author's life plus additional few years for their ears to an arid we are guaranteeing that we are repaying the author for the contributions to society by giving them the ability to license at work doing this time SBC.
[21:43] And so this really created the idea that not only is intellectual property about protecting the piece of work but also the Creator behind that work. And making sure that protected throughout their life plus an additional period of time after that, and wants this. Expired then this piece of work when there's something that they called the permission simple which it was like an early form of public domain which means anybody could copy it as they saw fit.
[22:05] David I keep trying to jump ahead on you but you mentioned France and. This idea that copyright protection was a way for society to give back to artist I feel like that's one piece of it but today we see a lot of the justification behind copyright protection being that it's the only way to incentivize Creation in the first place I thought so much of the argument here is that by protecting the author we incentivize them it's the only way they're going to create but not just are we rewarding them but also we're bringing about that creative work in the first place.
[22:36] Well I mean that is jumping ahead a little bit but I think it's very related to these Concepts that came out of the French idea where if you can't guarantee that someone is able to survive off the production of their work then they're going to find some other job to do in their life figured they're going to instead of focusing on the creation of art of books or of inventions that they might never see the prophet of Barnstead going to end up some sort of work that they can guarantee their income in and pursue that instead and we lose out on art and culture because of that reason or that was the idea anyway.
[23:06] And maybe that was the idea David but you did mention France and so I have to bring up this example cuz I think it's so fascinating but.
Switzerland [23:13] You know when you think about Switzerland one of the main. Areas that they're known for being a global leader in the pharmaceutical and chemical Industries in Switzerland actually didn't even have a viable patent system to address the chemical and pharmaceutical Industries until 1907, prior to that other countries especially France did have a strong patent system to address these industries and, mini French chemist and scientist thought that hindered their ability to work and so they actually immigrated to Switzerland for the express purpose of setting up a business in an environment that had no hindering patent protection and so a lot of scientist and chemist from France brought their knowledge they brought their money and their business partners and they set up the specialty die houses and other factories in Switzerland and this is what created the very Foundation upon which the modern Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical industries were built on. Which I bring up because it kind of goes against that idea that, you need this protection order to incentivizes this work but that's only we can get into a little bit more later there's so many examples.
[24:18] I think this is a good point instead to discuss some of this wild west Frontier that was going on at the time in various Nations around the world of respecting copyrights not respecting copyrights respecting patents ignoring Pat
The Wild West Of Ip [24:31] and the lack of global cooperation because all of these copyright ideas of Ip existed only within the confines of whatever state enforce them and if you were state didn't have these IP laws well then you could operate in this wild west of creating and copying content especially content from Other Nation.
[24:48] Will you bring up a really good point David about how copyright protection if it doesn't extend across borders kind of loses its function in a way. And this was felt by a lot of English creators who felt stymied by the American markets because in the United States. For the longest time we did not honor intellectual property rights of any foreign person, it's a Charles Dickens was one of the most famous criticisms of the American system he felt that he was losing out on sales for his very important works by all these plagiarizers in America from whom he could not receive any compensation or any legal recourse, but then once he discovered that he could just tore the country in and do live readings on his books in America and make a fortune that way I think he stop criticizing it as much.
[25:36] Just like happened in the modern music industry which would be good to live.
[25:41] Yeah exactly and there's other examples of this Gilbert and Sullivan the famous Duo that wrote many comedic operas. They tried to figure out a way to get around this and one of the ways they did that is by publishing their Works in America First and doing tours of their musicals in America before releasing them in London that way and showing they wouldn't miss out on the initial revenue from production of their plays also resulted in some Innovation for America's Economic Development. There's a man named Samuel Slater he came to America in 1789. And he would become known as the father of the American Industrial Revolution be created the United States first textile mills and he did so from the designs of British Mills that he had memorized before leaving England at the age of 21 and you memorize them of course because it was illegal at that time to export Factory designs from Britain. And because of this he was referred to in the UK is Slater the traitor.
[26:41] It's kind of Awesome.
[26:42] I mean the American economy owes much to this man who basically broke the law to bring us information and knowledge and boost our economy.
[26:51] But this idea of ignoring patents copyright in general IP law to grow the economy isn't unique to the United States in fact it's a pattern occurs in almost every country shortly before and oftentimes a little bit after they first introduced IP legislation for their state. There's a growing academic consensus that much of the industrial growth that turned the disparate
Germany [27:12] warring kingdoms of pre Germany into the powerful modern say that we think of that led to of ultimately eventually both world wars was the ability of them to a totally ignore copyright law at the time when the UK was very heavily in forcing their copyright making sure that only certain people were able to distribute books book printing exploded in Germany. Largely because many of these books were published without permission of the original authors.
[27:38] Authors didn't actually care they sell a lot of money they're making from this process because while in the UK they were printing very expensive books only for the wealthy. Publishers in Germany realize that they could bring both a hardcover fancy edition book to appeal to the wealthy and low-cost paperback books and distribute the people who couldn't afford the silly a high-quality book couldn't afford the licensing fees but if you made an unlicensed cheap copy they could afford how much that cost a very small amount and work happy to buy it and so people built their own personal libraries like this you salt reading explode across the country in Germany became known as a nation of readers and these books were all just literature but a huge amount with scientific and Industrial books how to farm better. How to create games how to build steam engines off the things that really kick their industrialization into high gear and within a couple of decades with the free distribution of this knowledge you saw the German economy transform from this very basic agrarian State into this powerful industrial nation with huge amounts of factory capacity that place it is the leader of industry in Europe probably through today.
[28:39] Yeah many historians now believe that a big source of Germany's modern development was this proliferation of knowledge and education which itself of course was fueled by a total lack of copyright protection resulting in this unprecedented distribution of booked in 19th century England for example. Around 1,000 Works were produced annually where is Germany was producing 14,000. And like you mention a lot of these Works were more technical or academic this is the craziest thing I've ever read there was a German author who published a manual on leather tanning in 1806 and this author earned more money than the author who wrote the novel Frankenstein.
[29:20] And it's played out for decades very successfully we saw this huge amount of growth in Germany But ultimately as German industrial power increase and its corresponding economic power increased you saw them introduce stricter and stuff to copyright laws of initially raining the sin because once you're on top you want to enforce the rules to make sure that nobody else can do the same thing as you can. And then this happened the same thing play on the United States he saw the same process the title mentioned earlier with lots of illegally published books but it caused a huge amount of growth in reading for the economy and a kicked everything off. But once again now when we look at modern copyright a lot of it is supposed to encourage this economic growth saying that the stretch of these copyright laws the more incentive we have in creating new work and distributing that the profit off of it. What is some of the greatest amount of economic growth ever in history occurred at least in large part because this information was really available on that we were wantonly violating copyright sweater to United States weather in Germany weather Switzerland. Then maybe this sumption we make behind the economics of Ip but we don't exactly live up to it and will explore a lot more cases where this is the cases we go forward in this episode.
[30:24] David I think when you look at the history of Economic Development it's clear that much economic development is stymied by our intellectual property rights and just to bring us real quick dr. James Watt example
James Watt'S Steam Engine [30:38] we mentioned how after his patent on the steam engine expired production of steam engines Skyrocket and it wasn't just the production of his Pacific steam engine but a whole host of new applications for this idea opened up. There are many reasons for that why it was so notorious for preventing would be inventors from encroaching on his Market that mini inventors who had Superior steam engine models refused to introduce them to the market until after his patent expire.
[31:06] But another important aspect of the story is that it goes beyond even that idea that wat benefited at the expense of everyone else because even watt himself was harmed by the patent system besides the energy of course that you spent litigating as opposed to actually inventing you could not even develop his own engine to its full potential because one of the main things you needed this rotational motion component which is something that's probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think about an engine is its ability to rotate something you couldn't do this because another inventor had a patent on cranks and flywheels. And wind Watts Patton finally did expire sales for his own engines actually increased dramatically even as his Monopoly power fell away because not only wear his engines distinct and of better quality than those being turned out by an influx of New Market entrance but his engines could now be applied to a much broader range of applications which expanded the overall demand for them in general.
[32:05] And I think you alluded to the fact that there's this process going on of closing off markets and closing off Economic Development and trying to capture control of markets through this Monopoly intellectual property protection and we see that play out in international trade you know rich countries like the United States Great Britain Germany they got that way so much from these very protectionist economies protecting their own markets but disregarding the intellectual property of other markets in other countries but now that they've established themselves as a global power we see then turning around and looking at other countries that are still in development and preventing them from doing the same things that got their economy to where it is today in the form of free trade agreements for example and many other tools.
[32:53] Lots of lots of History here and ultimately there were International agreements created between these different state so they could all in four spends together things like the Berne convention what's not everybody agreed on it first but was eventually mostly ratified by the majority the world mudding in 20th century catalog of ideas from these French combining it with videos of the British and then lots of other people and ultimately applied more or less today as our standard of copyright or at least the bare minimum of how strict copyright should be and you can make copyright more intense in this but you can't make it less than 10 small talk about this ratchet Theory later on. Someone fast forward quickly in the United States copyright kept getting longer and longer we saw the introduction of something call the Copyright Act of 1976 which codified are use which allowed people to use
Copyright In The Us [33:40] copyright of things outside of copyright in certain very specific ways and there lots of misconceptions about fair use this episode is not going to get into them at all. The concept of will they are sometimes it's okay to use copyrighted content. And we need to make sure that there is a legal definition of what that is what's important jump forward in copyright Theory. Once again trying to fix the mistakes that have been made with copyright ever since the licensing of these printing presses first occurred you know in the 15th century. Hundreds of years ago we've been trying to fix these mistakes ever since and recently the past few decades because of something that will talk on just a second I've been just making the problem worse.
[34:15] Quickly the 1976 Copyright Act extended dramatically the length of copyrights and it was admitted in 1998 with something called the Sonny Bono act and this is where the story is today.
[34:26] This is where the story gets interesting.
[34:28] This is yes this is where the story gets interesting so remember if we go back to the original Statue to man. 1710 where a copyright was granted for 14 years past the creation of piece of whatever it is. Or in early France where after the author created it it was extended for their entire life plus 5 years later 10 to 10 years is extremely valuable, and even lobbying United States refill just lay the bodies around the world for the right to extend that value for longer and longer times. To 1998 under Bill Clinton we passed a bill called. Copyright term extension act also known as a Sonny Bono copyright term extension act also known as the Mickey Mouse protection act somewhat derogatorily.
[35:14] How does Mickey Mouse fit into that David.
[35:17] So what this bill did was it increased by 20 years to total of 95 years via copyright length of products created by corporations so now if we have Corporation.
[35:30] You mean like ashes ashes Incorporated C Corp going to the top David.
[35:34] Exactly so where ashes ashes Incorporated Secor going to the top and we are creating an awesome podcast show and unlike what we do right now we decide okay you know what we don't want to give these shows away license under Creative Commons people can do whatever they want with them. Prince ever going to be like you know what fuck you listeners we're going to take control of this so that we can profit off our amazing show as much as we can and so the act of opposing this show so once you listener is able to download it for the first time on July 19th 2018. Copyright for this episode will be extended 95 years past the publication of this episode so long after Daniel iron.
[36:14] Speak for yourself.
[36:15] Still won't be able to do anything with this show without a permission or without permission of whoever owns Isis Isis think at that time 95 year. And that's not enough if we didn't have ashes ashes Incorporated if we were just publishing this independently as authors. Copyright of this episode would be extended 70 years past our death the same maybe Daniel we got another 30 years to live before the world collapses. In this post-apocalyptic hellscape copyright for some reason still exists well that means a hundred years from now. But people will finally be able to reuse our episode and 11 motivation for extending this law to be ridiculous links with the protection of one iconic care.
[36:56] So this is where Mickey Mouse comes in.
[36:58] This is the Mickey Mouse protection act that's exactly right so to look at exactly why this occurred with jump back to 1928, which is when Mickey Mouse first appeared in Steamboat Willie. When does Bill was introduced the copyright on Mickey Mouse on the Steamboat Willie cartoon was about to expire and that means that Mickey Mouse and its original portrayal of him would have been owned by everyone would have entered the public domain and as much as Mickey Mouse has already belong to all of us because of the culture that we all share together where Mickey Mouse is an important component well now we would have been quite literally owned Mickey Mouse and it's betrayal at least in this piece. Of course Mickey Mouse is trademarked we can't do things with its logo and stuff in that exists outside of the constitutionally protected rights of copyright and patent which is a single line in the Constitution set aside the ability to create this West trademark is in the control of Commerce and stuff it's not in the Constitution that is getting too legal for this conversation but Disney and other rights holders lobbied Congress extremely heavily try and push this date off as far as they could. So here we are coming up actually so in 2024 Mickey Mouse has been a very inter the public domain even though he was about to expire and into it and so we'll see if at that point they try and push this copyright date back even farther what that means is from the creation of this new Copyright Act in 1998 we have had no new Publications enter the public domain in the United States for almost two decades until January 1st 2018 we're going to see for the first time.
[38:22] New amount of music of Art. Creativity enter the public domain so that we could all once again own all this information together collectively like it should have been in the first place almost a hundred years later.
[38:34] Assuming David that some new legislation doesn't come along in the meantime that extends it once again.
[38:41] The history of any sort of evidence that might very well occur so let's look for second and what happened. So we look back for one moment to the statute of an where the original purpose of copyright was to encourage the consumption of art and culture and we look now we're locking up this culture behind hundred-year long copyright length give or take you can see how drastically the protection of Ip has changed what's no longer about defending creators about making sure that people are guaranteed to be able to access this culture what's the amount of time passes so if someone can profit off of it and instead Shifting The Power from creators from consumers companies like Disney did the big music labels does people that Lobby for the creation of these bills in the first place.
[39:22] David we've been doing a lot of past history so let me just bring us real quick into the modern time.
Modern Absurdity [39:29] In 2016 Fox aired an episode of Family Guy that included a clip of the cartoon character sitting down and playing a video game from the 1980s but the clip that fox used in the show came from a YouTube video someone had uploaded 7 years prior in 2009 and then just after Fox are this Family Guy episode the company notified YouTube that this individuals video which they had taken and then put into their TV show. Was copyright infringement and so YouTube took it down and this is of course an instance where YouTube and foxes artificial intelligence algorithms found the connection and notified YouTube automatically but this happens all the time and it's a big problem because so many would be independent creators artist musician or just people who want to share their perspective on the world get shut down for what is increasingly an impossible to navigate copyrighted world.
[40:27] Well I mean this is happened to you Daniel.
[40:29] Yes David I don't know I guess you've heard the news I actually have a small little YouTube channel I don't use it very much but when I was traveling a couple years ago I made some videos and. To provide a little background music what I did is I put some of my own music.
[40:45] This is this is music Daniel composed recorded and then publicity medley it's all things is entire creation There's No Label or anybody else involved with it it just Daniel.
[40:54] Yeah that's right David I met some piano music when I was in high school I recorded it onto a CD and then I uploaded it to an online service that they just registered it, and so and some of my YouTube videos I put this music in them and a couple days go by and I get an email saying that one of the videos I uploaded well it violates some copyright infringement and I scroll through and I looked and I'm trying to find out who am I violating here who am I stealing from with my video and I look in there it is Daniel forkner.
[41:24] Well you're not the first artist that is a cartoon not even just smaller it is so Paul McCartney of The Beatles Fame and you don't get much bigger than that at you sue for access to his own music that was owned first by Michael Jackson's estate and sold off the Sony and trying to be able to access his music in order to do things with it he had to contact the lawyers a Sony go through all this stuff it's music that he made you know he wrote this but here he is spending time working with lawyers working in this legal environment litigating to try and access his own creation it's crazy.
[41:55] What and I think one of the big problems with all this automation that has been integrated with copyright infringement as it is on the individual to prove that they had a right to share something and not burden doesn't fall in the large company to prove why I should be taken down in the first place and it seems pretty clear to me David that this kind of automatic takedown of any video has to be a violation of free speech and fair use because there's no need to prove something is a legal violation before removing it.
[42:25] So all of this emerges from something called the dmca the Digital Millennium Copyright Act I don't want to get too far into it because of this what a deviated is related to copyright and its enforcement online I mean it's very dancing and Technical but the short version is that web sites aren't liable for the copyrighted content that people post onto their websites as long as when requested it's called a dmca takedown notice when somebody files one of these things saying somebody's using my copyrighted work please remove it and then they actually do remove it then they're not liable for the violations so this is what allows sites like YouTube to exist in the first place because there's no way they could possibly afford all the copyright violations that occur on there every single second of the day.
[43:06] What this actually means is in the the application this because so much content is uploaded to these websites they can. Copyright violations all the time and that violates the DNC they need to be actively looking for these things and so they were introduced this automatic filtering technology what you got hit with on your videos where it automatically detected video that was entered into its database by somebody and it's not always the rights holders that entities into their database. Sometimes it's people who just are looking to profit there scam artists basically they upload things have longer than people but they upload them first in the process of reversing the ownership of this in far as YouTube understands is extremely complicated takes a long time a lot of paperwork a lot of conversation with a very small YouTube staff that doesn't care isn't educated on these topics and in video monetization you have a matter of weeks for your body to take off if it if it's exploding right then and you don't have months to argue over the legality of video that you own the rights to and so by the time it's all done you know your video is is basically useless.
[44:05] This plays out in people copyright in all sorts of stupid things so somebody copyrighted White Noise which is a static noise that you hear it's not copyrightable but somebody filed it into the database anyway and now all sorts of videos that use this generic public domain free sound bar instead of being pulled down there tagged by this copyright software they get a ding on their account at Leo's demonetize or at the worst case restricted in certain countries that can be played or removed entirely and is overzealous application of copyright is stealing all sorts of content that should belong to all of us that we should all be able to enjoy and use as a piece of culture from every single one of us.
Science And Research
[44:41] What David does copyright protection doesn't just cover YouTube videos and things like that but extends into the realm of science which is ironic because that initial copyright protection that you mentioned in the history of the statute of an part of the reason it came about was to not lock science up but to allow it to proliferate among people but today we find that I could do McDonald's in the research that scientists do is locked behind very expensive academic journals which has turned the research they produce which used to be considered a public good into what is in large part a private Market and real quick I do want to touch on this part about owning academic research another data because so much of the justification behind intellectual property rights hinges on its benefit to society but this monopolizing of scientific research in no way benefit Society and I guess the argument for doing so is that you know the revenue that journals can make can help them become more prestigious and therefore more credible and in some way that helps further the scientific goals by providing a platform by which we know we have a trusted Source the problem with that of course is that we can access that platform unless we have thousands of dollars.
[45:56] But I think there's a very clear example of how locking This research behind paywall does not in any way benefit Society because a lot of innovation historically has occurred not from people in specialized and trained field but from ordinary people with curiosity in free time so in his book at home Bill Bryson looks briefly at the history of the clergy class in Victorian era England,
The Contributions Of Who? [46:21] and he found a quantifiable difference between contributions to society from the clergy and those in specialized and Technical scientific field.
[46:30] Specifically according to their representation in the Oxford dictionary of national biography there are between 5 and 10 times more people in the clergy profession who contributed to society then scientist physicist inventors and Economist and that's because the clergy was a unique class of educated people, the Church of England required a college degree and they had a guaranteed income since the queen mandated that farmers pay clergy annual Sons based on their property guide. And they also had a whole lot of free time since Church responsibilities were very small, and so many clergy took advantage of this privileged position to explore the Curiosity alongside the research of the day in ways that led to many of the discoveries that benefit modern society.
[47:17] What's interesting about this I think is it really exposes one of the laws in the way that we're supposed to think about IP we're saying that people only innovate or create or research or discover or whatever it is that you want to say that this is about because they're doing so for some sort of incentive and if they aren't guaranteed that incentive they had no need to create. I mean I don't want to do this for rent right here isn't it something I've been thinking about a lot of somebody who is creative who all my friends are artist or writer Zora, my musicians whatever it is they're all creating in most to all of them aren't making any sort of money off their Creations but even in the in the scientific Fields like we're talking about here Daniel I mean it turns out as lots of people are interested in things that they want to do I mean look at us here we spent hours and hours working on the show every single week bring it out releasing it without copyright specifically not profiting off of it is it something that where we feel like we have to do cuz we're going to do it and in the same way that these researchers in the past these clergyman they didn't have to worry about the fighting for themselves. They have their food taken care of and their housing taken care of and instead what they had was free time. And I mean some of their time was devoted to chores around whatever institution they were staying in making sure it was running and stuff but it still leaves you hours every day in order to pursue the things you think are important. And the things that they thought important were. Science World poetry they were literature they discover the secrets of the universe at a rate that's far higher than those who professionally employed to do so at the time.
[48:44] Yeah let me give you some more examples of Reverend John Mitchell you made unbelievable contributions to astronomy and physics he was the first person to suggest the existence of black holes he helped discover urine test and he devised a way to weigh the Earth.
[49:00] And he discovered these black holes is astronomical things in the 1700s like this is not modern but that's how far ahead he was at the time.
[49:07] There was a brutal clergyman named Edmund Cartwright who created the Power Loom one of the most important inventions of the Industrial Revolution. Another Reverend taught himself Linguistics and created the world's first Icelandic dictionary and many many more became authorities on everything from dinosaurs to dog breeding and even one who invented the submarine. Many modern scientific field o a great deal to these people who had nothing but free time money and some curiosity.
[49:38] I think even the foundation of modern genetics was discovered by priest working in his spare time.
[49:43] Yeah and so I guess the point is that perhaps those who have the potential to make the biggest contributions to society are not necessarily those employed and some profession like biology or economics but could be anybody with curiosity and the opportunity to pursue that Curiosity but if we seal all research away from the public locked behind steep a while to only large institutions can afford to access that opportunity is severely limited relative to its potential.
[50:11] I mean even on the show we read a lot of journals to research these episodes and we encounter paywalls constantly and luckily we still have friends and contacts who are in grad school who can I guess it illegally release these papers to us and send them to us again violating the copyright of these journals. That's the only way that we can get some of this research and especially in a area that is collaborative at science science is built on the development of others it's not something that you independently go into the garage and you invent a new field unless you're Isaac Newton or leibnitz or somebody who just happened to stumble across a new field I mean that this doesn't really happen for the most part and even there their developments were built on the war of many other two came before them it's a collaborative incremental process and to lock some of these developments behind pay walls when there's a journal article or whether it's actual patented or copyrighted research slows down the progress of humanity for more than it encourages the investment in the first place. People want to learn they want to build they want to work towards a better future and when you're locking this up you're limiting our ability to do that but I think once again I'm getting ahead of her cell.
[51:14] And in fact this protection doesn't just stymie Innovation and creativity but it literally cost lives,
Ip And The Cost Of Lives [51:22] and before you accuse me of being dramatic you know I want to provide a concrete example which comes from the realm of pharmaceuticals medicine in the way that economic powers in the West. Try to impose free trade agreements on countries around the world to limit their access to Affordable medicine and it all comes down to this intellectual property and so on our earlier episode about debt we talked about how South Africa broke the chains of Apartheid when Nelson Mandela and his party the ANC Rose to power and replaced the white supremacist government and achieved political Victory or South Africans who for so many years had been. Oppressed and discriminated against.
[52:06] And what we found is that South Africa remained a highly discriminated country and it was because of the economic forces at play that the world imposed on South Africa and one of the examples of that was how. When Nelson Mandela try to provide cheap affordable access to AIDS medication to people who desperately needed it will the United States in particular resisted that saying that if violated World Trade Organization agreements. Specifically by licensing generic AIDS drugs or importing cheaper Ace drugs from other countries that were not intended for the South African Market, the charge against South Africa was that it was violating these intellectual property protection for the pharmaceutical industry.
[52:51] And at the time in the late 90s South Africa was going through AIDS prices that had the highest number of people living with AIDS in the entire world, with some 20% of adults having the virus but the only drugs available at the time cost more than $1,000 a month which was so far Out Of Reach for the majority population which had an average annual income of just $2,600 that's annual income.
[53:18] The South African Health minister of the time said quote, I think the lies of our people override everything else we are not intending to bust any patents were not intentionally breaking any treaties all we want to do is give Health Services to the people who are poor in this country and the people who have been denied those Health Services for centuries and quote and of course that Minister said that in defense of their desire to import cheaper 8 medicines from other markets so long story short South Africa try to introduce this legislation but us Pharmacy company sued and the US government put pressure on South Africa and when did public became aware it resulted in a public relations nightmare for the current u.s. government which responded by announcing alongside the World Trade Organization that going forward they would allow sub-Saharan countries to be a little bit more flexible in terms of the trade agreements in responding to this age crisis but in the same year that they were negotiating this was South Africa Brazil also ran into tensions with International Trade when it was responding to its own age crisis in the late 90s the US also filed complaints against Brazil which it withdrew a year later due to even more criticism and all this has created a global debate on how the World Trade Organization should respond to developing countries that face Public Health emergencies poor countries want the ability to use this.
[54:44] Parallel importing and flexible licensing to create generic drugs or bring cheaper drugs into their market and save lives.
[54:53] But on the other hand Pharmacy companies want their patents protected no matter what.
[54:58] Will it doesn't end just there in South Africa I mean we look at a lot of things that happened with South Africa and apartheid in the past saying well we've learned from our mistakes since then and I will working towards a better world act like you said the WTO has stepped back on some of the enforcement of this cuz I recognize there's a need for public health so maybe we're making progress right. Well that maybe is a good answer because these problems continue in almost the same exact forms and even in the United States under what we consider the more liberal Progressive presidents like Obama and it's almost the exact same story played out in India under Obama's term so in 2012 beanie government sought the crease in Virginia Cancer drugs that can be used as a cheaper alternative to a very expensive drug sold by International pharmaceutical company bear this move was instantly attacked by he was official from the US patent and trademark office who criticized the Indian government attempt to provide its citizens with a cheap way to access this life-saving treatment and to boil down a lot of conversations back and forth to Simple Things the bear drug cost $5,000 a month where is generic was only $150 a month.
[56:04] That's a big difference.
[56:06] Yeah and because of this high cost on the original bear team in only 2% of the eligible patients that needed this drug in India where were able to afford it from bear. And there's a couple of ironic things about this example and one is that India was taking advantage of a compulsory licensing to address a public health concern.
[56:23] Something that became acceptable after that South African example the World Trade Organization actually added it to their list of exemptions on intellectual property.
[56:33] Compulsory license in quickly is just when a company or pan holder or Nation or whatever it is that owns this piece of Ip is forced by some sort of legislative body or International creamer to provide it for fix licensing fee I'm against they will because it's backed up by the power and violence of states answer this is what happened in India's thing this is what was introduced to the WTO agreement so that Mike saving drugs could not be denied from people who needed them but couldn't afford them and the ideas of patent and profit wouldn't get in the way of health and survival.
[57:04] Despite the fact that India was allowed to do this under this exemption that the WTO has provided the US patent office testify to Congress at its highest goal what's the event developing countries from any such license actually being deployed. And ironic is that bear isn't even an American company but I guess it's not hard to see how protecting the problems of international corporations is in a broader interest of Western countries like the United States because United States uses the application of the video of these economic bodies to Wade's economic war on groups in order to get them to do what they want. So just right now if you win was trying to introduce this thing to say that it's not okay for babies to use formula they should be trying to use mother's milk as much as possible Ecuador was going to introduce this health resolution. And many doctors agree with it had medical consensus but the United States came in and threatened Ecuador not to do this with economic sanctions with pulling out of Military Support and other developing nations wanted to introduce his bill in the US kept going through bullying each one of these nations threatened them with economic attacks. They would step in because they thought the introduction of this resolution would hurt the sales of formula by American companies even though there's direct evidence that these formula sales were hurting babies.
[58:14] Consequently hurting people that would grow up and be less healthy less intelligent whatever. But it doesn't matter cuz it cut into the bottom line ultimately rush it was able to introduce the resolution we didn't attack them in the past but I think it's a great example of how we wait economic war in order to further our own economic interest and we apply this economic War through things like IP most notably and the trade agreements that bind IP so we wanted to just very strict trade agreements with the trans-pacific partnership that TPP Trump pull us out of it it fell apart but it would have introduced extremely strong copyright law enforcement around the world along with a similar agreement that we were doing with Europe in order to be able to apply actions like this it would have gotten rid of this compulsory license exemption. So once again this goes back to When developing countries ignore pants in order to develop to see their people like and use trying to do even though they're doing it within the rules here. The players that are benefiting from this Monopoly in this case the United States are going to do everything in their economic and military power to prevent that from happening and it really exposes how this IP falls apart in terms of its idea its core philosophical motivation that it's supposed to be helping us and toasty furthering Art and Science and making the world a better place and it said highlighted that it's an economic crab in order to lock up culture in order to lock up medicine Nordic lock up scientific progress behind profit walls or if you want to use these things and make the world a better place any better pay me if you to do that.
Medicines And Pharma
[59:39] And it's terrible as some of these practices are not everyone in the pharmaceutical fields are terrible. Not everyone in the pharmaceutical Industries is evil David I mean I think I remember reading that the polio vaccine which saves to how many lives was made possible by the initial inventor who released it to the public as opposed to trying to monopolize it and profit.
[1:00:01] So briefly John saw the creator of this vaccine is one of the very first vaccine so we have it is a polio vaccine fully what the time was a very I still is a very deadly disability rating disease kill hundreds of thousands of people every single year and it mostly children. And this vaccine stop that it killed the disease in its tracks with the boy that worldwide and polio is almost eradicated at this point it's made a comeback in recent years because of cutbacks in the deployment program and in Concerta vaccines and also meddling of the US state department or people don't trust American deployment of vaccines which is another story. But this was made possible because once John Saul created this vaccine the organization that is working with a nonprofit group they decided not to copyright not too bad.
[1:00:45] And said they released it into the world and he famously said can you patent the sun in the idea that these discoveries that we have around us aren't something that can be owned by mandolin said belong to all of us collectively together. Especially when they forward us as a species as a civilization as a community worldwide. An accretion of a vaccine for disease that causes so much suffering and tragedy around the world but that's certainly something that should belong to everyone that should be deployed as easily and quickly as possible and it was in large part because licensing fees John Stockton organization that he worked for lost out on billions of dollars that they could have had estimate is high 7 to 10 billion dollars in the deployment of this vaccine. And it said they give that as a gift to all of us here.
[1:01:31] Well I mean Devil's Advocate real quick David maybe this one doctor got lucky in the invention of the polio vaccine but many drugs today are very expensive to produce and that's the main argument from the pharmaceutical industry of Wyatt need to protect us patents because without the profits that I can make it would be justified in spending all the money to develop these complicated drugs.
[1:01:53] Sure this is the example the argument that always made by pharmaceutical Industries and buy a condom is saying that we have to balance the public need that is the need for health of cures and the financial motivation for somebody to develop these cures that is the guarantee that if they create akhir or something that produces symptoms for chronic illness whatever it is. There's motivation for them to created in the first place to spend billions of dollars researching deploying this and it will turn into getting into the hands after guaranteeing that it's save of patience. And it's expensive and you need to be guaranteed that they can make that money back. Of course this is a double-edged sword so means that consequently when they do the math and they say that well after we research this and we'd look at how long the patents going to last and how long we think this drug will be affected because some drugs like antibiotics might only be effective for set number of years what are the diseases that they're treating develop antimicrobial resistance like we discussed in previous episodes.
[1:02:47] Then there's no Financial motivation to create this and there's no Financial motivation to create cures for diseases that have a small number of victims there's more financial motivation for drugs that help with symptoms and there are with drugs that cure diseases completely and so we see that very quickly the incentives of the market are extremely distorted we should only be concerning about how can we help as many people as possible, Winstead proxying that question and saying how can we pay somebody to help as many people as possible and that extra stuff there doesn't make any sense to me because this is something that we should instead be publicly funded. All this money that's wasted on the profit for these pharmaceutical companies all this money that's invested into media advertising these drugs which is something that I personally benefit as someone who has done work for the pharmaceutical industry, and it made money off of that. I always feel guilty about this I feel guilty about the money that I make from these projects and end up sending that to groups to individuals that I think it would help out more in order to aswa's the guilt that I carry with me from this work.
[1:03:44] We don't need this this is a huge waste of the resources that instead should be invested back into this health and we should be considering that instead of having these Mega pharmaceutical Industries. Antique up all this additional work and investment in order to have these distorted incentives in the products that created maybe this is something that we should Bond publicly. The pictures of creep or generic not patented and open to the entire world to increase our health as a species as a global community, and I think any sort of other way of approaching this problem it's just a compromise of trying to fit in at the preconceived notion about the world and it's something that sort of fits this actual genuine need that we have when the answer is very simple collectively we should fund this because we're the ones who all will inherit the progress It's Made here and anything that steps in between that slows that progress down and makes all of our lives and health that much worse.
[1:04:36] You know it's crazy to me is that even research that is publicly funded right now is still subject to intellectual property rights meaning if I'm a university or a company and I get a grant from the government that is paid for by taxpayers to develop some new innovation but once I finally create that now I can slap my own eye protection on it which kind of flies in the face of of this argument which is protection is supposed to incentivize this Innovative activity by compensating creators for the cost of the creation but if the public is funding something from the beginning there's no reason to protect it unless you're just blatantly trying to hoarfrost it.
[1:05:19] Which is exactly what.
Fashion And Designs [1:05:21] David you say Industries couldn't exist without the complex IP protections that enable the innovation of noxious creators and artist but rather of Corporation. All the patterns and Designs they make. Well I say I looking back at you I see you imbecile you you don't know what you're talking about because in fact there are several Industries several major industries that are basically entirely absent or predominantly absent of Ip and one of the biggest of these is the largest creative industry on Earth something that we've dug into in depth miss the fashion industry.
[1:05:55] Did this is so fascinating to meet David because it's all around us but I never noticed it. I mentioned in the very beginning power on the Forefront of my mind if we're trying to add some kind of media to the show is hey are we violating some kind of copyright, you know it's very integrated into the way we think about creating something you know if I want to add a YouTube video on automatically thinking is any music I add to it in violation if I want to write a paper on am usually thinking in my plagiarizing someone am I going to get in trouble it's so embedded in the way we think about creative activity except for the thing that we interact with the most every single day and that's the clothing that we wear which has absolutely no copyright protection at all I mean there is some intellectual property protection in the form of trademarks but the actual design the actual creativity is not. And what we see is not a endurance of creativity we don't see a lack of innovation the fashion industry inside we see the exact opposite even in a bad way and turn to the fast fashion industry where something new comes out every single week.
[1:07:03] And to be clear there are Notions of intellectual property in fashion but they're limited so things like trademark logos are trademark you cannot reproduce somebody else's logo in your work without violating their trademark which is why a lot of fashion groups will make designs that are basically just their local repeated a bunch of times these are high end designers. In order to get around the fact that then no one can steal this pattern or whatever but the book of fashion did designs that we see the colors that cuts the way that clothes Draper hang or move or flow the Fabrics I will use all of this is not copyrighted and instead of stymieing the growth of creativity in this industry in fact fashion is probably the largest, and most vibrant creative community in industry in the world in the world like Daniel says they consoling designing things are there constantly New Seasons coming out all the time instead of living in creativity it's in fact for stew to happen. Because you always have to be developing the new-look moving forward because as soon as you design something it's starting to trickle down pattern behind is on his crate in New Look then it goes to the mid designers then it goes down in the mystery find it for $8 at your favorite fast fashion. By the time it reaches there it's already been developed it out of date somebody has something new that they've worked on and this encourages the creation of new ideas and new content of new art all the time instead of like wood Defender MIP would say. Stopping it or preventing it from happening at all.
[1:08:25] And because all this new fashions coming out its kind of this. Reinforcing feedback loop where it creates even more Innovation because designers now have more choices to choose from there's more Tools in their Arsenal designers call it sampling where they take someone else's work they put it on a mannequin and now they're trying to figure out how to reinvent it or do something different with it combine different elements it was interesting is that designers have pointed out that the industry benefits from both top-down and bottom-up so not only are famous designers coming up with their own original ideas but also the industry looks at how people use fashion creativity creatively in their everyday lives there looking at how transform among people to come up with new ideas to emulate that into more designs. And it's very clear how absurd intellectual property really is when you imagine The Logical conclusion of embedding it with the fashion industry so this means that we would see the suit as a copyrighted design that no one else could you use we would see the T-shirt as a design that no one else can use we would see the.
[1:09:32] Dress and the vest in the blouse and every single piece of garment that we have owned in a certain cut by some fashion house somewhere that specializes in the production and Licensing of that particular piece of garment.
[1:09:44] And David that would just be ridiculous.
[1:09:46] And maybe even bigger than the fashion industry when it comes to Raw dollars but the information technology industry is built almost entirely on freely license open source software unencumbered by intellectual property laws.
Technology And Software [1:09:59] Almost every single piece of technology that you interact with your phone whether it's Android or iOS. Your laptop whatever website so you go to they're all at least in part in some entirely built on open-source off.
[1:10:13] To this movement to create technology the new Linux operating system the bits of code that we write that run the internet the very code itself that the internet and these things are written in these are all designed by individuals. Sometimes is Hobbies sometimes for companies that pay them to but then once they've been made they've been released into the world so anybody can take it modify it make it better and prove it fixed things for cat make it their own and then pass that back out into the world to somebody can keep doing that and what we seen instead of people not creating things because they don't think they're going to be paid but rather an explosion in technology an explosion in innovation internet creation of new industries that wouldn't have existed in the first place highly profitable Industries including companies like Google like Apple that are built and only made possible because these pieces of software, a free to use developer remix we make and build into a better thing without the ideas that people like Richard stallman put for it. That said that this code that we write, we give out to anybody to use because that is the only way that we can have progress that is the fastest way to improve this technology and that is the only way that we can make these Technologies from a smallness thing it is something that explodes and runs worldwide unified for the betterment of all of us.
[1:11:26] And the results are obvious in front of us the internet the fact that it works at all is that it was built on these open Technologies are mobile devices the fact they work at all is because they were built on these open Technologies. And it's spreading out from that our cars are TVs all these things are built on at least in part. Open ideas. These ideas up in licenses in private IP so that people aren't allowed to use it or look inside or see what's working then our modern technological World quite frankly would not exist at. Only been made possible through Open Access and the times that some of these companies who benefit from this dramatic amount of open access. Companies like apple companies like Google end up locking up bits and pieces of their own software like apple famously patented the rectangle.
[1:12:12] Well David I mean come on compared to the triangle that's like 33% more lines.
[1:12:18] Well I guess that was that was enough of a justification for the US Patent offices and eventually Apple to give up that bad but it prevented other people from making devices in a particular shape and it's time it Innovation and development and once they had finally released this agreed not to then we could see instead development occur once more and a lot of these eye peas are about that Dickie Monopoly locking it up and saying nobody else is allowed to develop it until I've made enough money to cover my investment and then some as our current patent extend farther and farther other current copyright 6 didn't even crazier times into the future well that time we're supposed to just recoup are cost our investment and then profit after that that's long gone. This is no longer about protecting individual with the Creator or whatever that is but it's about guaranteeing that the publisher or the license holder are able to profit for as long as possible engine so hold back culture and technological development that are fighting against all these groups like Creative Commons the free software Foundation.
[1:13:15] Creative Commons David being the thing that we release our episodes under.
[1:13:20] These groups and many other open culture organizations are trying to push back against the constant push forward for the monopolies that hold these licenses to try and give us a more open Future where we can create without the encumbrance of worrying about licenses a worrying about copyright violations about being sued. Using someone else's patent instead develop and move forward without all this additional baggage and and litigations and whatever it is focusing instead our time on the actual Act of creating.
[1:13:50] Discussing the merits of intellectual property often falls into this argument like we said at the very beginning about
Culture And History [1:13:56] you know incentives and benefits to society but we can think about it in much simpler terms and that's that intellectual property turns an idea or a concept or some abstract thing into private property. And the result is that not only is our culture locked up behind a fence but so is our history. And perhaps one of the most absurd examples of this isn't the way that the speeches of Martin Luther King jr. is locked behind this private property fence and it is not accessible to anyone without a license or without paying a fee or without Express written permission by the owners which happened to be at this time Kings estate which is mostly his family. It's always see things like. Directors who want to create movies based on the biography of Martin Luther King jr. can't even use his speeches in their film meanwhile car companies can pay a sum to have Martin Luther King speech over late on their Super Bowl commercials, in a very ironic Twist of what Martin Luther King jr. preached in the very sermons that are used in these commercials to promote commercial products.
[1:15:06] And I was thinking about this David this ability to own a piece of History the ability to own a piece of culture. And we look at this so much from the money perspective but just think about the implications for a second what this means is that. If Martin Luther King's estate wanted to sell this private property, this piece of History to let's say a white supremacist billionaire or group of people will they would be perfectly justified in the current legal framework for doing so. And if this white supremacist billionaire took Martin Luther King jr. speeches Bard everyone else from using it except those that wanted to twist it in a certain way to fit this ideology. They too would be perfectly justified in doing that. And I think something is very seriously wrong with the way we treat our history in our culture when we allow it to be sold off like this to the highest bidder and we allow it to be walled off. And protected and controlled by a small group of people who can now use abused, exclude and otherwise do whatever they want with something that should belong to all of us.
[1:16:16] The power of culture and of history and of these products that we create and release and this IP World withered literature whether it's music weathers art, is the effect it has on each of us that's what makes a piece of art to Creation significant how it touches us and consequently these examples don't live in a vacuum you'll read something acknowledge it happened to the never think about it again, the process of experiencing somebody's creation changes you a little bit. And it does that X however many times people coming interact with it and our culture and Society do with how many people bring that idea or thought to a feeling or emotion into our larger world.
[1:16:56] The process of creating is the process of interacting with individuals and with our culture it's not something that happens in a small Walled Garden we create something it exists as this amorphous idea until you put that copyright notice down where you manifest is meta physical thing due to physical symbol copyright C Acosta magic spell in here it is it's protected from the thoughts of others and I can interact with it slowly as you know a brick of gold. But a brick of gold you can lock up in a safe and no one touches it doesn't have any influence outside of that but as soon as you release an idea into the world it starts changing that world. It starts changing People it starts affecting everything and to see that we can lock this up shut it off limit how this happens. Is to me it seems almost like a crime against nature about how we interact with each other as a society and culture example.
[1:18:03] For the saw the older Star Wars and four people around our age maybe Harry Potter. These movies Beasley's box. I permitted our culture affected how we talk about things how we think about things I can't tell you how many political articles I've read recently where somebody brings up Harry Potter examples or Compares somebody some some judge or politician to a Harry Potter character. And I'm not always clear why somebody decided to make this example other than the fact that when you compare somebody to this shared experience that we all have.
[1:18:35] Unifies us for a moment we can all understand what somebody's trying to say and that's because culture and the items that we create like I said belong to all of us, that's what makes him significant in the first place that's what in terms of The Economist I give them value but to say that we can limit our supposed to interact with these by only consuming officially licensed ideas by not creating your own things things like fanfiction which could be its own Episode by itself if the direct way that it violates is conversations. In the same way a child grows up imagining themselves a Jedi experiencing this thing that exists only in officially license form from Disney how can we cut off our myths and our culture's and say that they're owned by certain Corporation Warner Brothers were Disney cuz that's what these are now in the past are myths ideas are religions.
[1:19:21] Folklore wear something that were owned collectively by group of people to tie them together as their culture is what unified them and gave them a voice that people I'm just report to the land can hear these stories and understand because they talked them something unified that we all grew up hearing them these are the fairy tales of our modern day this is Harry Potter this is Star Wars in a silly as that sounds it's true. But instead of the password this is something that we share and tell each other and collectively own and develop and modify and make new and rebuild and adapt the times so that we can build something better together. Instead we have officially license Canon episodes things that say well here's the official publication by this if you want to experience it by this movie ticket by this book. If you want to create something off this idea because you want to improve this world but because you're so invested in you want to see something better happen with it. Well unless you have millions of dollars to purchase an official license to do this you are operating outside of copyright and therefore liable to the full extent of the law.
[1:20:19] What kind of fucked-up story is that I mean this is taking away from us our shared experiences as humans and and I would love for JK Rowling to hear this episode at some point and to understand that as long as she leaves the IP of Harry Potter.
[1:20:34] To be owned by Sound Corporation and she's made her billions at this point that she's denying the culture and unified mythology of an entire. Generation of people and their children and the generations going forward and the Legacy that we experience to make things great are the shirt Collective stories that continue being told because the stories are freely available and accessible. And I hope she hears it is and she says you know what what's released this. Let's get Harry Potter to all the people that own it because collectively our experience and culture find this and make it was great. And so should be returned to the people that own it which is all of us have experienced it and body it live with it and move it forward and I mean I'm not even here but you can't deny how important this is to all of us it makes me sick that we have our mythology locked up Behind These copyrights and Licensing. And that's after mythology but all of our art every time you experience something you see a video you see a photo you see a TV episode whatever it is that you experienced as media. It changes you would have text you do you own part of it now. Or at least he would have in the past but now it's locked off when you don't need to be experienced in certain ways and if you want to build with increase something new you can't do that.
[1:21:41] What David I think you said it best in episode 31 which is every time a wall is built a little bit of our freedom disappears. Of course you were talking about physical laws but I think the same thing applies here to what you talking about walls around ideas walls around culture walls around who we are as Society our history.
[1:22:02] Yeah, that's exactly right they know that's exactly what I'm trying to say with. The motivations for deploying these walls like we've mentioned have been winning incentivize people to create there's without guaranteeing them that money from the licensing. The not going to want to. But that is so far from my experience as a Creator so far from the experiences of all my friends who are creators what are there scientific researchers what did the musicians with an artist whether their dancers wear their fashion designers all these people that I know and that I consider myself part of we are compelled to create a choice you make sacrifices to do it. You take jobs you don't want because I'll give you the flexibility to write in your spare time or get access to that piece of equipment, or better than an hour's let you play your shows two gigs whatever it is people realize that creating to them is more important than any sort of economic return it's a compulsion. It's the human spirit that drives this board and I have spent thousands of years creating our culture and in the same way we take this culture that others have built before us and modified make it better because it belongs to all of us and that's what drives it forward and the application of his IP laws denies the human Spirit to create it denies the culture that we all alone. Undoubtedly makes the world a more Walla closed restrictive less colorful less vibrant less healthy place.
[1:23:22] Will you know what's interesting is that I think a lot of people recognize how intellectual property rights are used as a way to just create additional profits I mean when people talk about Star Wars now and and how Disney is the new owner of this, cultural creation people are quick to point out a why did they do this in the movie why did they introduce his character always very clearly so they can sell more merchandise and many people are quick to recognize that the profits at stake and owning a part of culture that people appreciate is very valuable. And maybe people just assume that that is what incentive eyes and creativity really is and I think that's because we just haven't been thinking about what the alternative to that would be I mean what would the world look like is everything from Star Wars to Harry Potter to MLK speeches were in the public domain and freely available for anyone to use I mean in terms of Star Wars that means more fanfiction it means more creativity in terms of, man's ability to express what it means to them.
[1:24:24] And not just fans but but companies in corporations they can also develop their own interpretations and you can pick whichever particular strain of Star Wars you think it's the best and follow those that I see that especially because so many people complain about the new Disney films but what if you had an option between you know the Marvel Star Wars or where the the Warner Brothers Star Wars that is Sony Star Wars and you can pick and choose your favorite parts and experience this world that you love so deep.
[1:25:03] South me online and I would appreciate it and there's no telling what would develop as a result of that and I think it's just another one of those problems where we can't see what could have been because we're stuck with this reality but we need to think more in terms of the alternative, locking our culture up is simply not the best option.
[1:25:21] So this brings us to the what can we do and I think this entire show is about this philosophical conversation of what is culture.
What Can We Do? [1:25:40] And I think the paradoxes and hypocritical nature of this conversation are quite evident even without digging into the mini examples of success without IP of the times that I P have prevented the advancement of specific things that the creation of art or of boarding Humanity as a whole. What are the important things that we need to fix going forward besides the way that we understand i p in general is also the ratchet nature of Ip laws so that burn convention that we mentioned the World Trade organization's IP agreement called the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights or trips these things set minimums of what IP should be Enders minimums are typically things like author's life plus 50 years and that means a no Nation Who belongs to these organizations like the WTO or like the Berne convention can do any sort of less restrictive I peas in this, so we want to move towards a more open free and vibrant future and when you dismantle either these trade agreements or these International IP agreements because they act as ratchets preventing Us only for moving to more restrictive legislation only more restrictive IP worlds and that's the opposite of where we need to go we want Advanced collectively.
[1:26:48] Even if the idea of minimum protections for things isn't going away we can at least imagine a better world in which those minimums are much lower I mean in the current legal framework it wouldn't be that unreasonable to give an inventor like James Watt who creates the steam engine a very limited protection for him to establish his business maybe a year or two so that no one could immediately take his idea from him but certainly the current minimums are way too long.
[1:27:16] Right I understand not everyone is in IP radical and they want some sort of limitation to looking back to the statute of and where we saw 14 years that seems like a very reasonable compromise in terms of being able to regenerate a license to make money off of whatever it is you created and then move this into the open culture so that everyone can profit and move forward collectively Within. I think it's a reasonable compromise though I would like to see a world where we collectively work and everything is open for all of us. And again every time somebody comes to you and says we need IP for development of economic growth that is what guarantees the creation of products remind them to look at things like Germany Switzerland Us in the past but also look to the east were in the past Japan and Korea Advance through ignoring copyright and developing their own things and currently China's huge economic growth spurt in large part by the willful copyright violations that occur throughout their Industries ignoring patents ignore copyright ignoring for limitations on intellectual property in order to Spur and grow their homegrown industry I just had an amazing effect on that economy much of the Chagrin of Western Nations.
[1:28:19] Or just take the most obvious examples that would come to anyone which is Wikipedia an online encyclopedia that was built by people all over the world who didn't make any money, and unlike an artist who even if they're not going to make any money from creating a piece of art or a book but can still enjoy some kind of Fame as a result will the people that worked on Wikipedia don't get any of those benefits if I write an article right now I don't get any money and I don't get any recognition yet it has resulted in the most comprehensive largest database of information and knowledge the world has ever seen.
[1:28:56] Those people do it without any remuneration.
[1:28:59] The benefit of that is that after the show I can go look remuneration up on Wikipedia and find out what it means.
[1:29:05] So we hope you walk away from this episode a little more open-minded a little more and Courage by the potentials of an open culture or we can all come together and build something better. You want to learn more about many of the topics that we have on this episode you can do all of that as well as find a full transcript of this show on our website at ashes ashes.
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