I have seen over the years, and during the last few months in particular, lots of authors and artists expressing concern or rage at how large language models ("LLMs") and the Internet Archive are abusing creators by engaging in unauthorised copying, often described as "stealing my content".

Of course, these organisations claim that the copying they're doing is legal. A number of law suits are going through the courts right now to test both sides of this disagreement, which means there's a chance that the LLM companies and the Internet Archive are correct in their various legal analyses.

I have an idea for a new form of copyright that would settle the controversy in favour of these concerned creators. It would be available to artists and authors as an alternative to the current type of copyright. No one will be forced to use it, but I'm sure it will be attractive to some.

In this regime, you, the author or artist, will get absolute, non-transferable control over every possible form of copying of any recognisable portion of your work for the whole of your lifetime.

As this new copyright will be non-transferable, you will not be permitted to assign it to any other person, or to any corporate entity. Corporations will not be able to access this new form of copyright, and will continue to use the current regime.

Creativity is a personal act; this new right will only ever vest with the individual person who created the work, if that's their preference.

Fair Use or Fair Dealing doctrines will never apply to your work, nor will your work ever enter the Public Domain to be copied uncontrollably.

No publisher may licence your work without your express permission on a case-by-case basis (i.e. licensing of your work will only ever be done by agents working only on your behalf and under your instruction).

No retail outlet may sell your work unless you agree to it.

No culture critic or education establishment will be permitted to quote your work without your agreement for each quotation.

No search engine may index any part of your work except under terms you dictate.

No LLM may ingest or analyse your work unless you allow it.

Other authors or artists will be permitted to sample your work only if you grant it, again on a case-by-case basis.

No library, of any form, may lend copies of your work.

You will never, ever, feel the loss of having your work treated by anyone or any company in ways you don't want or don't agree with.

Complete and total control.

Your "content" be will never "stolen", because there will be no legal doctrine that will allow any form of copying of your work without your express permission for each copy.

If it is your wish, every new copy of your work, or any recognisable portion of it, will result in a payment to you, without exception.

This will be a very special form of copyright, and will apply only to those works you want it to apply to (i.e. not necessarily all of your works!). Therefore, you would need to accept some not-unreasonable conditions to avail of it:

  • You will have to register your work with a government copyright authority; everyone will need to know that this particular piece is using this special right.
  • That government authority will have to be informed of the creation, existence, ownership, location and (if applicable) destruction of every copy of your work, including when it is transferred from owner to owner.
  • For each work, this right will be irrevocable from the moment you register the work under it; once you claim this absolute copyright for your work it will never not apply to it.
  • Upon your death, in order to prevent any further copying of your work (which, by definition, will be unauthorised), all copies of the works you've registered under this right, whether in physical or electronic form, including all copies created for back-up or archiving purposes, will be destroyed.

When you cease to exist, your work will cease to exist with you.

This is OK, of course, because if the only reason you create a work of art or authorship is to make an income from it, then the work will have no value – none at all – once you're incapable of benefiting from an income; once you're dead.

Now, this blog post, like all the others on this site, is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, so you are permitted to copy this blog post, especially if you want to share it with anyone you feel can help you achieve the goal of introducing this new copying right. I've done my bit by coming up with the idea, but as you're a creative (too!), I'm sure you can come up with a way to get it made into law.

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