Letting Society Advance Though Art and Innovation #

This video from Tom Scott on YouTube is a very good intro to everything I’ll be talking about on this page, I’ll assume you’ve watched it so that I don’t have to repeat everything that he says here.


What’s Wrong With that? #

Watch a police officer admit to playing Taylor Swift to keep a video off YouTube (The Verge)

How do we fix it? #

I think to further address any issues, we first need to look into how these issues have come to exist. In general, as a society advances, new issues will arise. Computers and the Internet have shown us just how incredibly things can progress and how amazing unhindered, open information flow can change the world. The Internet has served as an educational tool of unparalleled utility to my generation, and has allowed me to learn things that I otherwise would have never had access to. Of course, this also means the same for bad actors. Though acting in bad faith also now have the same unparalleled access to personal information of the masses and individuals can now use their anonymity and an Internet connection to do harm both to individuals via cyberbullying and trolling, but also to businesses as we move to a world that more heavily relies on ecommerce and the digital information they store becomes increasingly sensitive.

Unfortunately, the law is often far too slow or far too fast to react, leading to laws that simultaneously fail to protect our rights as smaller creators and punish many to harshly.By ‘slow’ I’m primarily referring to the lack of or incompetence of consumer data protection law. GDPR is definitely a step in the right direction on this; however, that is both only for the EU and was implemented far too late. By ‘fast’ I had the DMCA in mind, which is wildly considered to be both overreaching and to harsh. Simultaneously, we lack real power as consumers, copyright is a game the rich can play with expensive laywers and the small creator can’t afford to defend.

Today, the most obvious example of this is the Right to Repair movement, a movement that has computer hackers and farmers fighting side by side to protect consumer rights.

Copyright, DMCA


HEVC is heavily patented. There are no less than 7,200 patents covering this compression method. This includes 39 patents from Apple: CN 03816739.5, 200810082232.0, 201210009977.0; DE 603 34 804.1, 603 41 992.5, 603 41 994.1; FR 1532746, 2326019, 2328283; GB 1532746, 2326019, 2328283; IT 1532746, 2326019, 2328283; JP 5385233; KR 850,810, 1,210,015; and US 7,292,636, 7,339,991, 7,551,674, 7,769,084, 8,090,023, 8,090,026, 8,094,724, 8,094,729, 8,630,339, 8,711,924, 8,737,462, 8,737,468, 8,737,484, 8,743,951, 8,817,883, 8,831,106, 8,837,580, 8,837,597, 8,934,546, 8,934,551, 8,942,287. This should be enough to discourage any company from using HEIF, even if it does offer a better compression versus file size ratio

Patent trolls

Societal standards of art, making fun of something because it’s different

What we should do about this:

[TODO] Marvel, Pink Floyd, and Minecraft Vs Web comics, indie, and Minetest.

Piracy? #

[TODO] ethics of piracy, when it’s okay, who it affects, etc.

Because these many of these sites are technically hosting illegal content, they tend to change domains a lot. One of the better ways to be sure you’re not going to a Honeypot, a fake site used to catch people, is to check what domain the Wikipedia article refers to, for example for scihub:

Scihib link on wikipedia

Awesome Piracy (GitHub)

Open Directories #

[TODO what is an open directory]

For the Hackers, Makers, and Engineers #

Cory Doctorow is a huge name when it comes to speaking on how copyright matters to those of us that like to create with code and wires. I really recommend reading his post about why There are no digital rights, only human rights. and watching this video about the War on General-Purpose Computing.

Patents #

[TODO] e-ink, 3D-printing, MX keys, Loading screen game until expired ; patent trolls ;

Yes more on 3D printers: The first FDM 3D printers went on sale in 1995 for $50k. Ten years later they were $25k. Then in 2008 the patents expired. By 2011 a halfway decent printer was $1800. By 2018 $300 3D printers were available worldwide.

I joined the community in 2010, bought my own printer in 2011, and I saw the community operating with my own two eyes. Thousands of people all over the world innovating without patents to improve the situation.

The idea that patents promote innovation is absurd. The primary function of the patent is to stop innovation. All those thousands of people who wanted to improve 3D printers were legally prevented from innovating while the patent was in effect.

I remember in 2012 people on the mailing list talking about 3D printing on to a belt that could move. Literally no one on the mailing list wanted to risk infringing on the Makerbot patent for this, even though makerbot quickly stopped selling their belt printer and never sold a new one. To this day, the only belt printers that are for sale is a printer with the carriage off angle from the belt to avoid infringing the makerbot patent that hasn’t been used in years.

The rate of innovation would be higher without patents. We’re hurting ourselves for the benefit of those who amassed large patent portfolios so they can charge rent on old designs instead of innovating.

Imagine the health and wealth that could be generated worldwide if we let every country copy the best MRI machines we have, and all our battery factories and chip designs. That wealth would immeasurably improve the lives of people the world over, and it would come back to us in the US as new economic trading partners with their own infrastructure. Along the way they’d find 100x cost savings or better and our medical care would be cheaper.

We are truly shouting ourselves in the foot with patents.

- TaylorAlexander on this hacker news thread

Having spent a significant amount of time developing and patenting new technology — I think patents are both necessary, BUT need an overhaul. Particularly, I think design patents are likely positive, but I think utility patents need a different mechanism. For instance, I think the patent should work for X% of revenue of a given item is provided to the patent holder, provided they don’t reach an agreement. This would ensure anyone can use patents and the revenue would be defined. I also think a patent should be limited to 3 years without it being put to use. “Use” should have a lower bar, but effectively made or reduced revenue in some manner.

In reality, you can build what you and ignore patents. Patents don’t matter until you are in business and make money. At which point, if someone uses you; you’re already successful and they’ll want a slice of that success. This is the advice I’ve always been given (from investors and attorneys, off record).

- lettergram on this hacker news thread

A bounty system for patent invalidation might be nice. An idea could be:

  • When you get a patent, you put up a bond.

  • If someone invalidates your patent, they get the bond.

  • Otherwise, you get it back when your patent expires

An extra, funny, probably impractical idea is that when filing for the patent, you decide on the value of the bond. But, the value of the bond is the maximum payout you can be awarded for a given instance of infringement. So, you have to essentially ‘price’ the value of your patent yourself.

- bee_rider on this hacker news thread

For the furries #

No, you can not copyright your species or make a ‘closed’ species. While I am not a lawyer, I can say with a pretty high degree of certainty that your claims of copyright over a fictional species would not stand up in court.

Here’s some other people telling you exactly the same thing:

Lakota Wolf on Fur Affinity, Valkyrie on Furry Amino

The TLDR? You can’t copyright an idea.

Also in response to Closed Species and Copyright: I Asked a Lawyer from Riipurr

[…] if the character still resembles Doraemon enough, you can get sued for it.”

Yeah, that doesn’t mean anything. You can be sued for anything. Whether or not a judge will agree with you is a wildly different question. While, again, IANAL, I have read way too much copyright law and work with people that actively push the limits of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and know enough to justify my donations to the EFF.

If someone were to trace your work. Definitely, that’s copying, you’re in the right, you’d win.

If someone were to draw what was very obviously your character with minor tweaks, again, you’d win.

If someone were to draw a new character, with significantly different markings, but of the same species? Probably not. Unless your species has some incredibly specific details that are in of themselves a copyrightable work that the person also copies you’re going to have a hard time. You do seem to get this as you say

we were mainly discussing species with distinguishable physical features and not simple hybrids like a plain cat with wings, etc. You’d have to make the cat’s silhouette unique enough to make it its own, new thing (like scarfoxes)

But, really? Looking at Scarfoxes I’d really question the claim that there’s enough copyrightable material here. Remember, ideas are not copyrightable. To me, this looks like you’re claiming the idea of making a fox like character with upright ears and a stiched-style face is the copyright. If the silloute were to exactly match one of these, yeah, that’s infringement, but making something that uses a similar idea is not. Similarly, you can’t copyright a word- that would be trademark, and unless you intend to file for it, you don’t get it by default like you do copyright.

Further down you even said

To be frank, I don’t quite care about the legality of all these. It’s just that people who excuse ripping off artists and others because “duuhhh laws say I can” really annoy me.

Yeah. And that’s fine. But you need to realize that when you’re trying to claim copyright of something so broad you’re saying “This idea belongs to me” seemingly unaware that you’re possibly infringing on the ability of other artists to make things that honestly weren’t inspired by your work, that just happen to be similar.

At the end of the day, this comment is the one that matters:

JurisCat's avatar JurisCat - Jun 20, 2019

One thing to consider about this, though, is that people are unlikely to sue over characters being copied because typically the legal fees would be too high to make it worth suing.

Riipurr's avatar Riipurr - Jun 20, 2019

Most definitely! This is simply an answer to something that’s been bothering me for a while.

THIS. It’s often not worth your time to sue, so unless you’re damn sure that somebody is infringing - that is it’s traced, the outlines match, the colors and markings are exactly the same - you wouldn’t. That’s exactly the point of copyright. It’s in the name.

This is not an attack on Riipur (seriously, I don’t even know them, and their art is actually bomb as hell), rather it’s a statement to the furry community: Quit. Your. Bullshit.

Because this really bothers me, here’s a list of examples I find particularly offensive:

This species by Kataxicon, was even directly called a Wendigo, an existing mythological creature, before she renamed it to Selvageist.

The “Phish-Keepers” by Flnch-Face is literally just a water dragon.

This “Shark-Wolf” species by Alfeddy speaks for itself.

I could literally go through deviant-art and find these all day.

If you do this, as an artist, you are harming the furry community by claiming ownership over an idea. It deters other artists from being able to draw things they do have the right to, and it’s really just a form of gatekeeping. I do understand the desire to claim your own work and get the value you deserve out of it, but closed species are often stepping over the line and claiming ownership of an idea, something you do not have the right to do.

Yeah, our current copyright system is 300% ultra forked for small creators. I understand. And yeah, I’d be super pissed off if some nazi-fur made a Dutch angel dragon and paraded it around.

But then we come to the real solution: If you want to have a closed species, you need to make sure it really does pass the bar where others would associate the species with you, that any creature, regardless of colors and sub-designs, is so obviously a derivative that everyone recognizes it (and as such could associate it with you). Examples of this are easy: Protogens, Sergals, and Dutch Angel Dragons (albeit the last one is hella debatable)

So next time you’re thinking about calling your Lynx-duck hybrid a closed species,


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