Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

So Larry may have been on the ropes for a few days, but he's back. He has a great proposal.

Here is something you can do right now. In this NYT op-ed, I describe a proposal that would move more work into the public domain than a total victory in the Supreme Court would have. The basic idea is this: 50 years after a work has been “published,” a copyright owner would be required to pay a copyright tax. That tax should be extremely low--this proposal says $50, but it could be $1. If the copyright holder does not pay the tax for 3 years, then the work is forfeit to the public domain. If the copyright holder does pay the tax, then its contacting agent would be made a matter of public record. Very quickly we would have a cheap, searchable record, of what work is controlled and what work is free.

If Justice Breyer is right that only 2% of the work from the initial period affected by the Sonny Bono Act continues to have any commercial value at all, then this proposal would mean that all but 2% will move into the public domain within three years. And as the proposal applies to all work that is more than 50 years old, it would apply to a much larger range of work than would have been affected had we prevailed in the Supreme Court. This could give us (almost) everything we wante--98% of the public domain that our framers intended. Not bad for government work.

There is an FAQ about the proposal. Also found the infoAnarchy International movement to save the Public Domain on Boing Boing.

I appears that one blog, DynaWeb was the concern of the Chinese government (I read this first on Dave Winer's Weblog) which had information about how to get around the government filters. According to the DynaWeb site, Blogger/Blogspot seems to be available again with only DynaWeb's DNS being screwed up by the government poinpointing the target. According the DynaWeb, it was an article in Forbes by Juliana Liu that pushed the Chinese government to remove the filter on Blogspot.

OK I thought it was kind of cool to be censored by the Chinese and even bragged about it on TV, but I just got an email from Jason and I think it's time we get serious and get all hands on deck trying to fix this silly situation. You can start by reading the entry in Jason's blog. If anyone from China is reading this and has a good idea about how to get blogspot uncensored, email or post something here. I know some people, but don't know exactly which buttons to push...

Poor Larry. But I think Larry's right. MAYBE this will get people to realize that the default path is that we are stripped of our rights. I hope people get pissed off and get up off their damn butts and do something about it. Larry's not giving up.

Justices Uphold Copyrights in a Victory for Walt Disney
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 10:21 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld longstanding copyrights designed to protect the profits of songs, books and cartoon characters, a huge victory for Disney and other companies.

The 7-2 ruling, while not unexpected, was a blow to Internet publishers and others who wanted to make old books available online and use the likenesses of a Mickey Mouse cartoon and other old creations without paying high royalties
[...]
The Constitution ``gives Congress wide leeway to prescribe `limited times' for copyright protection and allows Congress to secure the same level and duration of protection for all copyright holders, present and future,'' Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said from the bench.
[...]
Congress passed the copyright law after heavy lobbying from companies with lucrative copyrights.

Today was a strange day. I had to give two presentations. The main one was to the Sony execs and other people that Sony had invited to the Sony Open Forum about the future of Japan. The discussion was extremely productive and I got a lot of feedback that will help us in Davos.

Then I walked next door to the Sheraton Waikiki to give a short presentation about Trust and Security in Ecommerce. It was a Public Voice/OECD sort of thing that Marc Rotenberg was organizing. And there was Dave Farber, a surprise guest. We gadget talked for awhile and IM'ed on our Sidekicks during the panel. It was fun to see Dave and I did the blog song/dance on him and he agreed to try it.

Later Mizuka and I were having cocktails with Chairman Idei of Sony at the Halekulani just standing around when out of nowhere appears John Patrick and his wife. Hello! I knew John was in town for the GIP conference, but what a wonderfully random thing. He was off to give a talk somewhere so I made quick introductions.

It's really a small world... or everyone is in Hawaii today...