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Thread: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

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    The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution states:

    [Congress shall have the power] "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    It makes no mention of patents or copyright or ownership therefore it does NOT give Congress the power to grant patents or copyright or to create and protect intellectual property.

    While the ownership of property necessitates, and therefore implies, an exclusive right to that property, an exclusive right to something does not necessitate ownership and therefore does not necessitate or imply that the something over which a person has an exclusive right be regarded as their property.

    When a person has an exclusive right to something, granted by Congress, nobody else can use it. Since nobody else can use it, that person cannot share it or give it away or sell it or license it. The only way to obtain the right to share, gift, or sell that thing is to wave the exclusive right to it. In doing so, they permit everyone else to do the same.

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    Re: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by SapphireSpire View Post
    Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution states:

    [Congress shall have the power] "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    It makes no mention of patents or copyright or ownership therefore it does NOT give Congress the power to grant patents or copyright or to create and protect intellectual property.

    While the ownership of property necessitates, and therefore implies, an exclusive right to that property, an exclusive right to something does not necessitate ownership and therefore does not necessitate or imply that the something over which a person has an exclusive right be regarded as their property.

    When a person has an exclusive right to something, granted by Congress, nobody else can use it. Since nobody else can use it, that person cannot share it or give it away or sell it or license it. The only way to obtain the right to share, gift, or sell that thing is to wave the exclusive right to it. In doing so, they permit everyone else to do the same.
    The Constitution grants Congress the power to enact laws in keeping with it's duties listed specifically.

    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
    Article I, Section 8, Clause 18.

    Thus, Congress has the power to enact legislation covering patents and other intellectual property rights.

    Why would you think otherwise?
    Last edited by Captain Adverse; 04-21-19 at 03:02 PM.
    If I stop responding it doesn't mean I've conceded the point or agree with you. It only means I've made my point and I don't mind you having the last word. Please wait a few minutes before "quoting" me. I often correct errors for a minute or two after I post before the final product is ready.

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    Re: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by SapphireSpire View Post
    Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution states:

    [Congress shall have the power] "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    It makes no mention of patents or copyright or ownership therefore it does NOT give Congress the power to grant patents or copyright or to create and protect intellectual property.

    While the ownership of property necessitates, and therefore implies, an exclusive right to that property, an exclusive right to something does not necessitate ownership and therefore does not necessitate or imply that the something over which a person has an exclusive right be regarded as their property.

    When a person has an exclusive right to something, granted by Congress, nobody else can use it. Since nobody else can use it, that person cannot share it or give it away or sell it or license it. The only way to obtain the right to share, gift, or sell that thing is to wave the exclusive right to it. In doing so, they permit everyone else to do the same.
    What does "the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." mean if not a patent or copyright?
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    Re: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    The Constitution grants Congress the power to enact laws in keeping with it's duties listed specifically.

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 18.

    Thus, Congress has the power to enact legislation covering patents and other intellectual property rights.

    Why would you think otherwise?
    Because it makes no mention of IP. It's not even implied. Why would you assume it does?
    Last edited by SapphireSpire; 04-22-19 at 10:04 AM.

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    Re: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Mal View Post
    What does "the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." mean if not a patent or copyright?
    It means exactly what it says- an exclusive right. For example, when you lend something to someone for a limited time, it doesn't mean they own it, because you own it. The power to grant to someone an exclusive right to something for a limited time is a power of ownership. Thus, the only ownership implied by the clause is that Congress owns all writings and discoveries by default, which makes them public by default. So anyone who has an exclusive right, granted by Congress, to any art or technology does not have the right to share or sell or give it away because they don't own it and nobody else is permitted to use it.

    Since the powers of Congress are limited to those enumerated in the Constitution, it does not have the power to issue patents or enforce copyright. All federal patent and copyright laws are unconstitutional and all manufacturing and publishing monopolies that dominate the captive market are unconstitutional.
    Last edited by SapphireSpire; 04-22-19 at 10:12 AM.

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    Re: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by SapphireSpire View Post
    Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution states:

    [Congress shall have the power] "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    It makes no mention of patents or copyright or ownership therefore it does NOT give Congress the power to grant patents or copyright or to create and protect intellectual property.
    I hate to break this to you, but: The Constitution is not a statute. It doesn't need to be specific about the mechanisms (or legal terms) by which it protects rights. In doing so, it gives Congress sufficient latitude to deal with the issue.

    This is why, for example, the Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment," instead of providing an extensive list of which punishments are "cruel" and which are "unusual."

    Plus, copyright laws date back to at least 1710, with the Statute of Anne. Meaning the Framers, and the authors of the first US copyright law (passed in 1790), understood the purpose of the Copyright Clause. We can see this with Federalist 43, which took copyright and patents for granted, and makes clear that the point is to ensure that the federal government, not the states, determines how to protect IP:

    A power "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing, for a limited time, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. ''The utility of this power will scarcely be questioned. The copyright of authors has been solemnly adjudged, in Great Britain, to be a right of common law. The right to useful inventions seems with equal reason to belong to the inventors. The public good fully coincides in both cases with the claims of individuals. The States cannot separately make effectual provisions for either of the cases, and most of them have anticipated the decision of this point, by laws passed at the instance of Congress.


    Quote Originally Posted by SapphireSpire View Post
    It means exactly what it says- an exclusive right. For example, when you lend something to someone for a limited time, it doesn't mean they own it, because you own it. The power to grant to someone an exclusive right to something for a limited time is a power of ownership. Thus, the only ownership implied by the clause is that Congress owns all writings and discoveries by default, which makes them public by default.
    lol... no. The Free Software Foundation is thataway --->

    The whole point of copyright law is to allow content creators to produce something, and make it available to the public, and ensure the still have a degree of control over it and/or receive compensation for access to it. It doesn't mean that once you discover the cure for cancer, you can lock it in a vault indefinitely, and the instant you show the formula to anyone else -- including, say, employees who manufacture it -- you lose all control whatsoever over the distribution of the cure.

    You might not think this is a great plan, or that term lengths are too long, but that doesn't change the intent or effect of the Copyright Clause.

    By the way, good luck throwing out 200+ years of copyright / patent law on the basis of a tendentious reading of the Constitution, and total lack of familiarity with contemporaneous IP law.
    "Everyone should listen to me all the time about everything." - Rosa Diaz

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    Re: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    The purpose of IP in general is to protect manufacturing and publishing monopolies from direct competition, by making it a criminal offense. The authors of the Copyright Act of 1790 certainly understood that. The U.S. has been a captive market ever since.

    IP kills two birds with one stone. First by prohibiting individuals from employing themselves, it forces the vast majority of working people into labor markets. Then, by keeping labor markets saturated, it gives retail monopolies a monopsonistic advantage over wage negotiations. This is why there are so few options for consumers, prices are high, and most people are employed rather than self employed. Anyone who can't keep a job ends up poor and homeless because there's no economic opportunity. This is why we need labor unions, minimum wages, welfare and social security- one injustice leads to another.

    Monopolism is responsible for the increasing popularity of socialism and communism in the world. They blame capitalism for the consequences of monopolism even though monopolism has nothing to do with capitalism.

    There's nothing tendentious about my reading of the copyright clause. It doesn't require you to understand copyright because it has nothing to do with copyright. The last 200+ years of copyright and patent law is not only tendentious but fallacious. That's why it should all be thrown out. Without IP, most of our economic problems would not exist.
    Last edited by SapphireSpire; 04-22-19 at 04:41 PM.

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    Re: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by SapphireSpire View Post
    It means exactly what it says- an exclusive right. For example, when you lend something to someone for a limited time, it doesn't mean they own it, because you own it. The power to grant to someone an exclusive right to something for a limited time is a power of ownership. Thus, the only ownership implied by the clause is that Congress owns all writings and discoveries by default, which makes them public by default. So anyone who has an exclusive right, granted by Congress, to any art or technology does not have the right to share or sell or give it away because they don't own it and nobody else is permitted to use it.

    Since the powers of Congress are limited to those enumerated in the Constitution, it does not have the power to issue patents or enforce copyright. All federal patent and copyright laws are unconstitutional and all manufacturing and publishing monopolies that dominate the captive market are unconstitutional.
    This sentence, "Congress shall have the power] "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." is so clearly giving Congress the right to grant patents, I don't see how it could possibly be read otherwise. The language couldn't be more exact. Secure for limited times the exclusive rights is precisely what patent and copyright means. Precisely.
    Besides, Congress takes for itself powers not granted by the constitution simply because the constitution hasn't specifically denied them the power. If necessary Congress amends the costitution and Bingo! you no longer have the right to stop for a beer on the way home.
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    Re: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by SapphireSpire View Post
    The purpose of IP in general is to protect manufacturing and publishing monopolies from direct competition, by making it a criminal offense.
    *bzzt* wrong, copyright violations are primarily a civil offense. It's only a criminal offense if you are counterfeiting goods, or fail to abide by a court judgment.


    IP kills two birds with one stone. First by prohibiting individuals from employing themselves....
    *bzzt* wrong, copyright law often empowers the content creator.

    a) The instant that IP is in a fixed form (written code, manuscript, etc) the content creator has the copyright. You don't even have to file with the Copyright Office (though it's a good idea for something valuable, as it offers stronger protections). That's not just in one nation, that is now international too.

    I will grant that it is not easy for the Little Guy to enforce their copyrights, but that's not because of the actual copyright law, it's because our legal system does not provide an individual with unlimited free legal counsel for civil cases, and does not cap how much a company can spend on legal defense.

    b) In case you missed it, current US law actually allows content creators to regain their copyrights after 35 years if they transferred them.

    c) Absolutely nothing about copyright law forces content creators to transfer their copyrights, or work for hire.

    d) Your understanding of employment in the arts is deeply flawed. The vast majority of musicians, artists, authors, choreographers, etc are freelancers. There are few full-time jobs for artistic content creators, i.e. it isn't copyright that forces people to become employees somewhere.


    ....by keeping labor markets saturated, it gives retail monopolies a monopsonistic advantage over wage negotiations.
    *bzzt* wrong, nothing about copyright gives distributors either a monopoly or monopsony -- especially in an era where independent publishers can go right around them and sell directly to the public.


    This is why there are so few options for consumers, prices are high, and most people are employed rather than self employed.
    Is it still 4/20?

    What "prices are high?" Who are these "most people?" You can legally listen to music for free on the radio, via podcasts or on services like Spotify; I can watch TV for free; I can listen to almost any piece of music for $8/month; I can purchase digital albums or digital books for next to nothing; I can get all sorts of software for free....


    This is why we need labor unions, minimum wages, welfare and social security- one injustice leads to another.
    Oookay... but all of that has nothing to do with copyright.


    It doesn't require you to understand copyright because it has nothing to do with copyright.
    ...except for the part where James Madison explicitly stated that the Copyright Clause was written to empower the federal government to regulate copyright and patents.
    "Everyone should listen to me all the time about everything." - Rosa Diaz

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    Re: The copyright clause has nothing to do with copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Mal View Post
    This sentence, "Congress shall have the power] "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." is so clearly giving Congress the right to grant patents, I don't see how it could possibly be read otherwise.
    It can't, unless an individual is so utterly opposed to copyright that he or she will say anything in an attempt to delegitimize copyright law....
    "Everyone should listen to me all the time about everything." - Rosa Diaz

    "When the mistakes fall disproportionately on one side, it is no respect for the notion of truth to pretend that everything is even." - Lee McIntyre

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