This is a case where I'd absolutely apply to the spirit of the ethical
behind the initial law, not the law itself.
Absolutely. That is exactly why i said copyright law is not always a
black and white issue. At what point does a person have the right to
create something similar to another copyrighted work before it can be
considered copyright infringement. Where do we draw the line where ideas
can be copyrighted and be held by any one single person/company?
Sometimes I feel courts all too often lean towards major corperations
rights rather than smaller companies and individuals.One case in point
was Microsoft VS Lindows. As some might recall a company called lindows
opened up about 4/5 years ago to try and create a Linux based operating
system that was able to run both Windows and Linux software
simaltaniously. Initially the software got great press, great reviews,
and really was looking like it might give Microsoft some compitition for
the PC. AS soon as Lindows got noticed and started appearing in
Wal-Marts on e-machines Microsoft sued Lindows over a vvariety of
copyright and trademark violations. The biggest one of them all was that
in there manual they used terms like desktop, window, toolbar, etc which
were used by several linux distributions besides Lindows. According to
the suit microsoft claimed that they alone had the right to use those
terms because they of course invented the Windows graphical user
interface. Then, they said the name Lindows was too much like Windows
and end users might get confused.
In the end the case got settled out of court. Microsoft won the case
forcing lindows to change there name to Linspire and they fell out of
public view. As for terms like toolbars, status bars, etc Microsoft
didn't get their way just because the courts felt they were too common
to be copyrighted and awarded to any one company. However, it did not
stop Microsoft, the Natzis of the software world, from trying to
utterally slotter there compitition in court. Had they gotten their way
they would have instantly monopolized all graphical user interfaces we
know of in one swift move.
However, microsoft did achieve a major advantage in that court case. Not
only did they force lindows to change their name, force them to remove
some Windows software compatability, they basically killed Lindows as a
major competitor. In addition to all that they took one major step
towards fully proprietary software for specific one platform. In a sense
what Microsoft got out of the deal is that unless a developer
intentionally designs a product to run on Linux, Mac, whatever it is
Microsoft's soul right to have every Windows based product run only on
Windows PC's. Having a concept like Lindows which could run both Linux
and Windows applications together on a non-Windows os was a great
concept, and I think the outcome was atrain wreck for any non-Windows
The outcome really was not in the spirit of copyright law at all. It is
suppose to protect certain rights for companies and individuals, but not
to let a company create a monopoly that hurts humanity in general.
Personally, with the number of platform choices available it is not a
bad idea to be able to have some sort of common OS core that would allow
Mac, Linux, and Windows applications to be run on any OS without serious
issues or forcing a company to design multiple versions of the same
product. Though, we all know that to be unlikely because money talks and
companies like Microsoft will always actively destroy their competition.
My own thinking on this subject is that copywrite law is to A, prevent
or taking of creddit for someone else's work, and B, allow a commercial
to receive some sort of payment for the creative service of providing
material (often imho this gets extreme with large corperations and
that's another debate entirely).
Exactly. Unfortunately, in the case of big corperations and institutions
they demand full rights under the law. Often they use it to spite the
competition. See the case of Freedom Scientific VS GW Micro over Window
Eyes 7. Freedom Scientific knows that Window Eyes 7 is some serious
competition for Jaws 10 with the built in scripting abilities and a
quality feature by feature comparison. What else can FS do but pull the
old he stole my idea game to try and bend them over a barrel so to
speak. To force them to become a substandard screen reader through the
courts since they don't want to compete on a fair battle ground apparently.
My thinking is that a company or individual cannot claime any legitimate
prophit and/or due creddit where they themselves do not seak to obtain any.
While there are cases, --- such as when I tried to buy a dvd of the Lion
Christmas to find it utterly unavailable sinse a remastered version is
in the works,
where a creative project may be unavailable for a comparatively short
time, in these
casis the company has a vested interest in stating that the creative
Yeah, and I understand your feelings completely. There have been a
number of cases that Disney and others have pulled the game of running a
certain movie for a limitted run on DVD. They say get yours while
supplies last. Sure there will be an initial race to get the movie, but
what happenes the minute production stops. People who have them begin
selling bootlegged copies. If Disney doesn't like it they only have
themselves to blame for making such a limited run in the first place. If
they demand people buy a legal copy then in theory they need to make a
new production run or my opinion is screw them. I'll buy the bootlegged
copy and tell them where to go.
Then again we are involved in the fair use area of the copyright laws.
When a company stops production on a product and people begin copying it
or starts up production of their own should we in theory have the right
to do so. Under the law no, but clearly the company themselves lost the
right to complain the second they stopped producing the movie, game,etc
for sale. unless of course as in your case they pull the movie off
shelves to remaster it, upgrade it, or sell it for a special holiday promo.
Btw, Applied to disability, there is also the huge mire of access. For
20 years, copywrite law and the greed of the publication industry who
may or may
not wish to release overpriced audio versions of books has played a
in unavailability of audio in the Uk.
While the situation is slowly improving, it's a long long loooong! way
it is in the states.
I do certainly understand your situation though it is in reverse. i
generally don't have problems obtaining written materials in an
accessible format thanks to Public Law 9-22 which basically gives anyone
the right to copy written materials in a free and specialized
accessibility format for people with disabilities. However fantastic
Public Law 9-22 is for written materials we still get screwed in a lot
of other areas such as reasonably decent described movies and television
For example, I can turn on the Sci-Fi channel and get Dr. Who or turn on
Cartoon Network to see Star Wars clone Wars but neither program is
described in the U.S. So as the person who pays for my television
programming i feel extremely screwed to find out that the exact same
shows I wach are described in the U.K. In fact I have to join lists like
the Blind Movie buffs lists just to get shows like Star Trek, Clone
Wars, and other programming described because it isn't available where I
live. If the U.S. companies want to scream about me breaking some sort
of copyright law I'm sure I could give them an earful how they have
totally failed the blind community in this country for equal access to
Access is a huge area where I believe copyright law has failed everyone.
They never said weather or not a product or service has to be generally
accessible to everyone so by downloading described movies from sendspace
might be breaking half a dozen laws in the process. Though, my situation
is a bit unfair becauseI get little out of my tv programming without
descriptive vidio, and my tv services don't provide it. I am forced to
do something illegal to get the right I should have had in the first
place which was to listen to that program with description or equal
Accessible computer games I'd view in a similar light I think. Afterall,
as if we can all go out and make money for activision's successors by
Basically, that is in the same boat as described movies for me. I can't
just slap a brand new game on there like Tomb Raider Underworld and
expect equal access even though that is pretty unfair. if i rewrite the
game with the proper accessibility then I am doing something illegal.
This, i don't believe, was the intent of copyright law to punish someone
for accessibility. To be honest I don't think they ever considered what
would happen if a product was unusable to a person with a disability and
could be made to be so. The average person is holy ignorant of our
needs, wants, desires that the thought never cosses their minds. When I
talk about accessible gaming with sighted people think I'm half nuts
because it never occurred to them a blind person could play games on the
computer let alone their favorite games could be modified to improve
playability. It is one of those things most people who make the laws
are ignorant of what needs be done to make acessibility a fair use claus
in the law.
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