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The Purpose of Copyright

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GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 31 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM
Mary in Kentucky 31 Jan 00 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,Arkie 01 Feb 00 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 01 Feb 00 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 01 Feb 00 - 10:28 AM
Mary in Kentucky 01 Feb 00 - 09:28 PM
sophocleese 01 Feb 00 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 02 Feb 00 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 03 Feb 00 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 10 Feb 00 - 12:46 AM
sophocleese 10 Feb 00 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 10 Feb 00 - 01:51 PM
Dan Evergreen 10 Feb 00 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 11 Feb 00 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 11 Feb 00 - 07:19 PM
SeanM 11 Feb 00 - 07:20 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 11 Feb 00 - 07:49 PM
GUEST 13 Feb 00 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 13 Feb 00 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 13 Feb 00 - 01:25 PM
GUEST 15 Feb 00 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 23 Feb 00 - 09:42 AM
sophocleese 23 Feb 00 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 23 Feb 00 - 10:08 AM
sophocleese 23 Feb 00 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 16 Mar 00 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 03 Apr 00 - 09:46 AM
sophocleese 03 Apr 00 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 17 Apr 00 - 12:44 PM
Jacob B 17 Apr 00 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 18 Apr 00 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 12 May 00 - 07:37 PM
Richard Bridge 13 May 00 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 13 May 00 - 10:33 PM
dick greenhaus 13 May 00 - 11:22 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 13 May 00 - 11:32 PM
Richard Bridge 14 May 00 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 19 Jun 00 - 09:44 AM
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T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 01 Aug 00 - 06:26 PM
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Subject: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 31 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM

An article by Law Professor Lydia Pallas Loren entitled "The Purpose of Copyright" is posted at http://www.open-spaces.com/article-v2n1-loren.php.

Her discussion of how a historical study of swing music bands was supressed through copyright censorship, and of how copyright holders can intimidate internet service providers, is near the end of the article.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 31 Jan 00 - 10:55 PM

T--Keep those links coming. I'm reading them.

Mary


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 01 Feb 00 - 10:20 AM

T. thanks for another good article. It is easy in some circles to see the publishing industry as some evil force seeking complete control over music and the printed word. However, in my opinion at least, they are simply business folk who will take whatever they are allowed to take. They are willing to grab in relatively small bites at a time rather than one massive crunch that could create some meaningful opposition.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 01 Feb 00 - 10:26 AM

Mary and Arkie, I'm glad you liked the article.

Some information about the author, Prof. Loren, can be found here.

As I've mentioned before, Prof. Karjala's website also posts, or cites, some articles, essays, editorials, and letters that make some of the same points Professor Loren makes.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 01 Feb 00 - 10:28 AM

Oops. I typed in the URL wrong. Prof. Karjala's web page is here. T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 01 Feb 00 - 09:28 PM

Professor Loren says: The misunderstanding held by many who believe that the primary purpose of copyright law is to protect authors against those who would pilfer the author's work threatens to upset the delicate equilibrium in copyright law. And I've been guilty of misunderstanding.

Mary


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: sophocleese
Date: 01 Feb 00 - 10:15 PM

There was an interesting article on the radio this morning about the case that's proceeding against ICraveTV. The writer said that America would not have the publishing industry it does now, nor would India have the television industry that it has without either of those countires ignoring the copyright legislation of other countries. The freedom from copyright spurred them onto freer and more open expressions.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 02 Feb 00 - 10:09 AM

soph, I don't know about India, but it's believable. Certainly for the U.S. publishing industry the public domain has always been an important resource. Up to about 1892 foreign-published books were in the public domain in the U.S., and U.S. published works were in the public domain in the U.K. Publishers on both sides of the water took advantage of this.

That wasn't the whole story, though. After the Civil War the U.S. booksellers developed a sort of collusion-copyright. The big houses began buying advance sheets from the British publishers (in effect buying a license to publish in the U.S.), and agreed informally to respect one anothers' editions of foriegn works. This had some of the effects, both good (payment to author) and bad (anti-competitive) that a regular system of copyright would have had. Still, I suspect that the possibility that an upstart publisher could bring out a competing edition at any time kept prices for foreign books lower than they might have been otherwise. At the same time, most copyrighted works were liberated to the public domain after 28 years, and all were after 42 years. This turnover process, meant that there was always a reasonable volume of new titles entering the public domain for enterprising new publishers to reprint, and enterprising new writers to base new works on. I think the publishing industry would still have flourished even if this moderate term had been applied to foreign works as well.

Modern times is quite different. On the one hand, there are more publishers than ever before, even if you don't count everyone with a web-site as a publisher. On the other hand, many valuable copyrights are being accumulated by ever fewer and ever larger conglomerates. Professor Loren's article suggests that these powerful actors will use the copyright laws to limit the freedom of the numerous small parties unless our copyright laws are revised to reflect greater appreciation for the rights of the public as one party to the copyright bargain. And Professor Loren isn't the only one to suggest this. Professor Pamela Samuelson of Berkeley has made some of the same points in this paper presented to a Yale conference on private censorship.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 09:28 AM

f.Mud.I., Judge Walker's "monopolistic stagnation" apothegm, referred to by Professor Loren, occurs in the opinion in the case of Computer Associates International v. Altai, 982 F.2d 693 (2nd Circuit, 1992).

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 12:46 AM

Here is a "Feed Daily" article by Josh Glenn that makes some of the same points Prof. Loren makes.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: sophocleese
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 07:48 AM

Thanks T. I am interested in these things even if I caqn't say anything more than thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Sophocleese


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 01:51 PM

soph, thanx for the thanks.

Here is another article, by an Indiana Law prof., which makes some of the same points Prof. Loren makes, though this article is longer and more technical.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: Dan Evergreen
Date: 10 Feb 00 - 06:47 PM

If you copy it a little bit wrong, can they still get you for copy right?


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 05:45 PM

Copyright assumes that intellectual property is owned by those who legally claim it. There is something specious about this argument since no one can completely own an idea as being wholly original. One song may be inspired by another and it's common practice to develop one song out of another or to sometimes steal it outright. The point is that whoever has the legal right to the property can make money from it. Hence, copyright is about money.

Business interests dictate that in a Darwinian sense, there are businesses that survive at the expense of those that don't. The music business is no different.

I advocate the possibility of a subversion. The singers and consumers of these songs might endeavor to change them in any way they desire perhaps creating new songs out of them. Some refer to this as the "folk process". In this way, the songs will become so variegated that the original version may be rendered as nebulous. I think that this might be done with all popular music for better or worse. I don't hold with the theory that only the original songwriter can make a better song out of his/her creation. I think songs can be rewritten by others and be substantially improved upon. This would create song variants that would be far more interesting than just the limited original copy.

Here's the problem. Thar's gold in them thar hills. This has taken precedent over the quality of the music and lyrics.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 07:19 PM

Frank is right: the "outputs" (pardon my use of computer jargon) of the creative process are also its "inputs". Paul Lewis, in a recent New York Times article, put it this way: "Shakespeare was great at writing plays, but lousy at inventing plots. So he borrowed them." (New York Times, Jan 8, 2000, page A17.) In fact Shakespeare sometimes "borrowed" more than plots. The Archbishop's speech in Henry V, for example, copies whole phrases from the report of the speech in Holinshed's Chronicles. Under today's laws, Shakespeare might have had to pay.

Copyright is supposed to balance the interests involved by lasting long enough to provide "reasonable recompense and encouragement" (James Madison's phrase) on the one hand, and expiring soon enough so that the living generation is not overly burdened by paying feudal dues to the heirs of past creators. If the law errs, it should err on the side of the public which is supposed to be its primary beneficiary. But few of the changes in copyright law in my lifetime have paid more than lip-service to the public interest.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: SeanM
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 07:20 PM

Overheard a radio discussion the other day locally (sorry, can't recall who was discussing) that had an idea that made sense to me.

Under the discussed plan, music copywright would be identical to current coverage for life +30 (or so... don't remember how long exactly, but in that neighborhood). After that point, copywright would be based on a monetary standpoint - if the song in question was used in a profit making manner, grossing over a certain amount, within approx. another 40 years (bringing total term to life + 70), then copywright would be invoked, requiring a percentage etc. etc....

This seems to make a certain degree of sense. In this manner, it would appear that after a realistic time frame, the song becomes pseudo-PD. The ceiling on profit during the 40 year add on (or would it be floor in this case?) was designed to allow for a certain level of performance, and possibly even re-recording, thus keeping songs accessible. If the re-recording then became a hit, the heirs of the songwriter would then be entitled to their share.

Sadly, as was mentioned in discussion, the HFA types probably wouldn't be willing to even discuss something like this... it eats away at their level of control, and part of the discussion centered around ways to keep as much money as possible directed to the owners of the rights, rather than the middlemen companies that currently absorb almost all the money.

Food for thought, at least.

M


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 07:49 PM

SeanM, The mechanisms you describe sound like what are known as "paying public domain" and "compulsory licenses" There are a number of compulsory licenses in our copyright law now (for example, the mechanical license allowing you to record a song that has already been once recorded.)

At the time the recent copyright extensions were discussed, in Europe and in the USA, there were lots of proposals which would have made "life + 70" friendlier to the actual heirs of the authors, but these proposals were ignored in favor of legislation that benefits the copyright holders (mainly corporations, though some prudent authors left their copyrights in control of trust funds.)

Some discussion of the European extension can be found< a href= http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/97/05/17/timartart01001.html?999>here in a book review by Richard Morrison, and here, in an essay by professor Jerome Reichman, who notes that:

"A more enlightened view might have installed an additional twenty-year domaine public payant, during which period users might have enjoyed free access to works that had otherwise entered the public domain on condition that they paid equitable compensation directly to authors, but not to publishers. Needless to say, the publishers' lobby defeated this sensible proposal and beat back a last minute push to retain the life-plus-fifty formula as well." (Section 2 of the essay, near footnotes 139 and 140).

Professor Reichmann's essay goes on to propose,

"Congress...should take steps to strengthen the author's termination rights under existing law. This is necessary to ensure that authors, rather than publishers, reap the benefits of such a policy. The potential benefits and disadvantages of a 'paying public domain' also deserve study. However, the term of protection currently afforded works made for hire should not be further extended, lest U.S. law become overly protective in comparison with the relevant foreign laws."

Proposals like these were shunted aside. Indeed, the extension of the term for works-for-hire (studio-made movies are works-for-hire under US law) was one of the primary objectives of the bill.

My own view is that life+70 years for author copyrights and 95 years for corporate copyrights is too long regardless of any compulsory licenses or other mechanisms that might be used to soften it. Softening mechanisms can be useful, but they are no substitute for copyright expiriation.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 00 - 05:33 AM

Rudyard Kipling and Samuel Clemmens (Mark Twain) both fought hard for strong international copy write laws.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 13 Feb 00 - 11:58 AM

The problem of cutting the publishers out of the deal makes the idea of promoting music on a popular level nugatory. There is no incentive for the publisher to promote the song. That wouldn't bother me but it could upset the music biz applecart.

Perhaps under the onus should be placed on the author to promote his/her own work in order to prove it's pop validity. Let them handle administrative costs, finance demo recordings and spend more time marketing than writing. Maybe this would be salutary for the development of better songs in that the writer would have to really go to bat for songs they believed in. The demands of the marketplace would have to change.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 13 Feb 00 - 01:25 PM

That someone "fought hard" for something doesn't make right what they fought for. The Waffen SS "fought hard" to conquer Europe for Hitler.

Copyright law is not an end in itself. The scope and duration of copyright must be appropriate to the ultimate goal of copyright, which is to enlarge the public domain. The scope and duration of copyright under our present laws are excessive and counter-productive in light of these ends.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 07:23 PM

An article by Jesse Walker has been posted to Reason Online, and can be found at http://www.reason.com/0003/fe.jw.copy.html. He cites a few examples from music, such as the "Oh Pretty Woman" case, to support his thesis (I think it's his thesis, but if it isn't it should be) that copyright had become too long in duration and to restrictive in scope.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 09:42 AM

Thomas Jefferson once wrote (discussing patent law, but I think the principle applies to copyright as well):

"He who receives an idea from me, received instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me."

Now L. Fitzgerald Sjöberg has created a humorous take on Jefferson's idea with an article about copyrighting fire, which can be found at:

a href=http://www.brunching.com/features/feature-copyfire.html

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: sophocleese
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 09:57 AM

I liked it. But does this mean congress could sue God, or Weather Systems Inc. for lightning and forest fires?


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 10:08 AM

Not Congress, no. The copyright law creates a private cause of action.

It is said that the Olympian (warning: that might be someone's trademark) immortals once sued the titan Prometheus for infringing their fire-monopoly.

The laws discussed on Soberg's article seem to allow for independent creation of one's own fire. The cause of action in the case of forest fires would be for the lightning's action against the licensee-tree (the one originally struck) for spreading the fire to unlicensed trees, as well as against the infringing recipient-trees.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: sophocleese
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 10:12 AM

Ah yes thank you that clears that one up for me. But who is Steven Seagal paying royalties to for his use of the title Fire Down Below? Lucifer or Viagra?


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 16 Mar 00 - 10:12 AM

Here is a column by Lawrence Lessig about problems with the patent system and the need for limits in patent and copyright law.

Although patent law is not usually of as much concern to musicians as copyright law, we shouldn't completely ignore it, because:

(1) the two legal fields, patent and copyright, are related. A mentality of runaway expansion in the patent field can spill over into the copyright field, and vice versa.

(2) Improvements to musical instruments are sometimes the subject matter of patent. If the PTO becomes too free with granting patents, copying simple, straightforward improvements to guitars, fiddles, bagpipes, or whatever might suck the maker into a legal morass. Obvious improvements are in theory sub-patentable, but in practice if the patent is granted by the PTO, it can be expensive to get the patent invalidated on the grounds of obviousness. Probably the PTO has more experience with musical instruments than with software and business-method patents (the focus of recent controversy) and so is less likely to grant a ridiculous patent to a musical insrument design improvement. But we should still be on our guard.

(3) Because much music is now written, played, transmitted, and discussed by means of computers, software and business-method patents can have a great influence on mudcatters and other web musicians.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 09:46 AM

Here is an article by Richard Stallman which is perhaps better focused on the central issue than any I have ever written myself, or encountered elsewhere.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: sophocleese
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 10:05 AM

An interesting article Okie, I do keep reading these whenever you post them even if I haven't got anything useful to add to it. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 17 Apr 00 - 12:44 PM

Here and are discussions of digital licensing issues involving MIDI programs.

I have no way to verify "Doc Doc's" allegation that HFA wanted to license MIDI's as recordings at the same time that ASCAP and BMI wanted to license them as performances, but it sounds plausible.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: Jacob B
Date: 17 Apr 00 - 05:49 PM

I put a bit of HTML at the top of this message, which I think is necessary to prevent the rest of this thread from becoming one big Blue Clicky Thingy.

While I'm at it: Thank you Okiemockbird, for all of your information on this subject.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 18 Apr 00 - 11:25 AM

A new article by Lawrence Lessig discusses the need for what he calls "skepticism" in copyright and patent law--by which he means a pragmatic evaluation of the actual effects of the law in light of the policy it intends to implement: "It is a demand that the law justify itself, not in self-defined terms, but in terms external to the law. Does it promote innovation? Does it preserve creativity? Does it enable change?"

The only explicit mention of music is a passing reference to MP3, but I think the article is still relevant because (1) since Prof. Lessig writes at a high level of generality, what he writes implicitly applies to musical copyright and to patents on music-related software; and (2) copyright touches an on-line community like the Mudcat in more forms than just the form of copyrighted music.

T.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 12 May 00 - 07:37 PM

Here is an article from 22-Nov-1999 by Bryan Pfaffenberger of Linux Journal relevant to this topic.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 May 00 - 06:05 PM

The European debate seems to prefer to pay at least lip-service to the concept of a natural right, rather than the constitutional basis of US copyright. THe links I have glanced at above seem to confuse the restriction of ideas with copyright, which only prevents the copying of expression (at whatever level of abstraction).


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 13 May 00 - 10:33 PM

"At whatever level of abstraction". That's the problem, isn't it ? The line between "idea" and "expression" is hard to draw, especially in music. The best way to protect freedom of ideas is to protect freedom of expression. The best way to protect freedom of expression is to treat copyright and patent as if they were awkward-but-expedient exceptions, which should be kept subject to strict limits, to the "general rule of law" (Mr. Justice Brandeis's phrase) that all works of the mind are "as free as the air to common use" once they have been disclosed.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 May 00 - 11:22 PM

If HFA wants to license distribution of lyrics, why in hell can't Mudcat obtain a license? Not for lack of trying, I assure y'sll


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 13 May 00 - 11:32 PM

"The influence of the imaginary Law of Nature over modern thought has been all-pervading; on the whole, however, still greater on the Continent than in England...As a general rule, French speculation knows no distinction or barrier between the province of morals and that of politics or legislation...it invests the creations of pure legal institution--the law of property for example--with the sacredness and indefeasibility of the fundamental doctrines of morals; and cannot bear to discuss such a question, for instance, as copyright, on grounds of general expediency, but insists on clenching it by affirming or denying an assumed absolute right in authors to hold the produce of their brain, by themselves or their representatives, as permanent property to the end of time."
--John Stuart Mill, Edinburgh Review #242, October, 1863, pp. 461-462 (from a review of John Austin's Lectures on Jurisprudence and On the Uses of the Study of Jurisprudence)

In many ways I am like one of Mill's "French" theorists: when I take a "natural rights" approach to copyright, I start with the premise that every human being has a "natural right" to copy any intangible work of the human mind (so long as the act of copying itself is non-invasive and non-destructive), whether created by himself or another. But I am also like Mill's hypothetical "English" theorists because I think that this "natural right to copy" can be constrained slightly on its margins, for purposes of "general expediency". We the public are permitted marginally to refrain from exercising our right to copy a limited class of works for a limited time, if by so restraining ourselves we "promote the progress of science and useful arts." But (here I revert to an "unailienable rights" approach) this right to copy can only be modified on its margins. If we give up too much of it for too long, the core of our freedom of expression is threatened.

Simply imagine this: Suppose the Hebrew Scriptures (about 2100-2200 years old now in their present form) were protected by copyright. If the copyright came under the control of Jew-haters or anti-Christian bigots (in some places the government might use its power to create this situation, in other places it might happen as a result of the vicissitudes of inheritance or the twists and turns of individual religious opinions), Jews could be forbidden from copying the Torah onto vellum scrolls, and Jews and Christians could be forbidden from using the scriptures in their worship, or publishing editions of the bible, or making new translations of it. Hence an overly-long copyright can end up threatening freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of worship.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 May 00 - 06:18 AM

The free flow of ideas is to be properly controlled on many grounds, and many this side of the Atlantic cannot understand the US reluctance to restrain, for example, libel. If there is no such thing as natural law then there is no such thing as a right to freedom of expression save as may be agreed, and then comes the issue of how a constitution may properly fetter a right.

I am inclined to the view that copyright may well have economic virtues, and it is essential in order to feed compoasers and authors, as performers' rights (not similarly recognised in the USA as in ROme convention countries, although the US has other legal principles which go some way towards providing for performenrs) is to feed fperformers.

Fiar use has got a bit overlooked in both the UK and USA.

Got to rush!


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 09:44 AM

A column by Harvard's Lawrence Lessig (who was active in the Govt's case agains Microsoft, and is also active in the constitutional challenge to the 1998 copyright term extension) has been posted at the Industry Standard's web site. It is titled, "The Limits of Copyright".

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 10:07 AM

Here is an editorial in Library Journal Digital on the same topic as Lydia Pallas Loren's article with which this thread began. I find it disappointing that his his chief concrete legislative proposal it for librarians to lobby for increased exemptions for libraries. He seems somewhat defeatist on the possibility of reducing the scope or duration of copyright except by narrow targeted statutory exemptions and technological circumvention.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 01 Aug 00 - 06:26 PM

Here is a Los Angeles Times editorial on Napster and recent trends in copyright. I don't know how long the link will be good, but it was still good as of a few minutes ago.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 07:14 PM

Here is a speech by Duke University Law Professor James Boyle to the National Federalist Society. This is interesting because, as Prof. Boyle states, "If we transposed political positions onto the map of the United States, the Federalist Society would be in Maine and I would be somewhere to the west of Honolulu". Professor Boyle nevertheless tries (whether he succeeds I don't know--I would be located far closer to his location on his hypothetical map than to the Federalist Society's) to find common ground with these conservatives by stating that copyright and patent law should be kept close to their constitutional roots.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 08:09 PM

Here is an article by Susan Aker titled, "What every American should know about copyright".

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 00 - 11:12 AM

Today's Boston Globe has an editorial calling for balance in copyright law: "[The courts] would be wise if they emphasized protections for recently released movies, books and other material while allowing the works of past generations to freely enter the public domain." (emphasis added)


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: Alice
Date: 05 Oct 00 - 11:44 AM

T, the article by Susan Aker that you linked to is filled with false statements about copyright. She claims that her expertise in copyright comes from once being a "part time" artist. Some of her mistakes are pointed out in responses on that site. One that was obviously wrong is her statement that "the work itself is owned by no one". I'd like to see her go into a studio or gallery and try to take the work, saying it belongs to no one. Unless a person is working as an employee, the copyright is owned by the individual who creates the work. Copyright ownership can be transferred only in writing. Buying the original work does not transfer the copyright to the new owner of the work. The copyright and rights to reproduce the work are sold separately. The Constitutional intent is to protect the rights of those who create original work and inventions to be able to benefit from their own work. Here is a response to her article by an artist who points out her Aker's misinformation click here


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 05 Oct 00 - 12:00 PM

When Susan Aker writes about the work being owned by no one, she is referring to the intangible component, not the physical implementation of it. She doensn't say anyone might steal your car. The question is whether, if I have a Star Trek style replicator, I may legally use it to replicate your car.

The constitutional purpose of copyright is to enlarge the public domain. The creation of rights in the work is merely a means to this end. The details of the means must be subordinate to the end, which is public domain status for all works of the human mind.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 05 Oct 00 - 07:27 PM

Now that I'm back home I can comment at a bit more leisure.

Susan Aker's article contains a number of technical mistakes, it's true. She especially gets dates wrong, as one of the responses to the article pointed out. But what she gets exactly right is the heirarchy of values that's supposed to underly copyright. As I said in my post above, copyright is merely the means; an expanding public domain is the goal. Many recent changes in the copyright law, expecially the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, overthrow these public-spirited, constitutional values for the sake of corporate greed.

Take a look at this old cartoon by Thomas Nast. A modern interpretation of it would label the tiger "Copyright Term Extension"; label the spectators "Jack Valenti" or "MPAA", "Michael Eisner" or "Disney", and "Marilyn Bergmann" or "ASCAP" and so forth as room allowed; and label the torn woman "public domain". Examine the Nast picture, making those substitutions in your mind, and you'll get a good idea of what I think many recent changes in copyright law are doing to us.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 29 Mar 01 - 10:54 PM

Here is an article by Professor Marci Hamilton in which she discusses how the public might benefit from the unusually high level of attention now being given to copyright issues by the mass-communications firms.

I disagree that the constitutional issue is as tricky as Professor Hamilton makes out. Since copyright's purpose is to enlarge the public domain, a "limited time" is one which serves this purpose. A term which is too long to provide a credible incentive (such as we presently have) is not a constitutionally "limited" time. And since extending existing copyrights can't enlarge the public domain, it should be considered unconstitutional except in special circumstances.

I also disagree that the U.S. would suffer any disadvantage from the "rule of the shorter term" being applied in Europe. Under this rule U.S. copyrights would expire sooner in Europe (Except in Germany) than they would absent the rule, but European copyrights will expire sooner here than in Europe. Why should a revenue stream for a few entertainment conglomerates be considered better for us than a larger public domain ?

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: Wotcha
Date: 30 Mar 01 - 07:45 PM

American law doesn't really help the author/creator beyond its borders without some international legal regimes.
I see very little mention of Moral Rights and Neighboring Rights ... something that is prevalent in the civil code nations. France has a very strong tradition of preserving the author's personality: this includes the right of withdrawal, paternity, integrity, and right of disclosure.
Some of these concepts have begun to arrive in the States (note the Visual Artists Rights Act). Since the US is now signatory to the Berne Convention, the rights of paternity and integrity now apply.
The issue these days is how to "harmonize" the differing legal regimes around the world. Not an easy task. Hence WIPO and WTO have roles in the protection of Intellectual Property depending whether you are a developing or developed nation ...
Another debate that is emerging concerns whether certain folklore needs to be protected by copyright as "the cultural heritage of all mankind." This is an environmental/law of the sea regime that has been grafted onto copyright by those seeking to prevent the adulteration of their cultures. Check out the UNESCO web site.
Cheers,
Brian


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 11:33 PM

Another humorous Sjöberg piece, this time about the DMCA:

http://www.brunching.com/features/edsworld15.html

Sjöberg is the one who did the piece on copyrighting fire, which is linked above.

T.


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Subject: RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright'
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 05:59 PM

What is your interest in all this, Okiemockbird? Did you hold stock in Napster? What is your work? I'm curious to understand why this is such a desperate cause for you.


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