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[BKARTS] Corporate Lawyers, Court Cases and Copyright Law

> Date:    Mon, 21 Apr 2003 10:31:18 -0400
> From:    "Jeffrey L. Loop" <jlloop@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Copyright Law
> There appears to be a great deal of confusion over just what copyright law =
> permits and prohibits, namely the concept of "fair use."  One poster =
> expressed her concern that one might not be able to quote or footnote a =
> work.  Nothing could be further from the truth--as long as the quote etc. =
> is attributed, there is no prohibition under U.S. copright law.=20
> As far as the comments that "powerful corporate lawyers" are expanding =
> copyright protection too far; well that arguement may have some merit, but =
> not in the copyright context--

I wish you were correct about this, Jeffrey, but you aren't. You need
only see Eldred v Ashcroft for a recent and graphic example.

Copyright has been extended 11 times this century, and the latest was
the 1998 "Sonny Bono" Act. This is sheer corporate plundering, nothing

I hold 135 copyrights, and I am no flaming liberal. Not by a long shot.
I simply think it is absurd to the point of being sick that works I
created in 1987-88 will not be available to the public domain until some
time in the next century. Let's assume I live another 25 years: add yet
another 75 years (as the copyright is 75 years after the life of the
author), and those things won't be free until the year 2103..

And why did the Congress do this? Purely and simply to keep Mickey Mouse
(under the original guise of Steamboat Willy) from entering the public
domain. In fact, you can find a nice correlation to the copyright
extensions and the times when Steamboat Willy was about to go PD. Takes
Big Corporate Lawyers to achieve this level of legal thievery.

Studies have shown that of the books published between 1924 and 1944,
only about 2% or less are still in print in any form. Since the Public
Domain ends at 1923, that means that more than 98% of the books
published in that time are basically, no longer available.

Who did this? Big Time Corporate Lawyers.

Also, "Fair Use" is in serious jeopardy due to the Digital Millenium
Copyright Act,

The people here are right to ask questions, as the answers will probably
shock them.

> it is in the patent arena that the fiercest =
> battles are being waged.  Those who wish their works to be available for =
> derivative works by others don't have to copyright what they do.

You really need to read the Law, Jeffrey. 'Copyright' is not an act that
someone needs to voluntarily commit. Works are considered copyrighted
when published in any form. There are no longer forms to fill out or
things to register.

A Work is copyrighted unless an author deliberately chooses to publish
under a different form and license.

The smart authors are doing this, as they know that 'copyright' is not
their friend, it is their enemy. You should see the Creative Commons or
GNU sites for practical examples of alternatives. 'Copyright' has become
a game that only the biggest firms will win. You might think you are
protecting yourself this way, but that's a delusion. Look at the
comments that have been made on this group and you'll see that the small
author or artist has little recourse when he or she discovers a
violation. However, the huge firms make a living tracking down and suing
people, whether justified or not.

Fair warning. You should see what large firms are suing for under the
DMCA. Any of us could be next. They are changing the rules.

Do a little googling.

> However, =
> saying that one has some overarching creative claim to take whatever =
> anyone else has created and use it for their own ends is absurd.

This is the Logical Fallacy of the False Alternative, something that
most people have learned by the time they are college sophomores. Not
only has no one here advocated "some overarching creative claim to take
whatever anyone else has created and use it for their own ends", but
that's not even indicative of the actual considerations. If you can only
win by knocking down straw men, you don't impress anyone.

> It is =
> like saying to the man who has just built his house with his own hands: "I =
> like your roof, I think I'll take it if you don't mind."  As The United =
> States Supreme Court put it in Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 219 (1954):=20=

This case was actually stated thusly:
"[3] Petitioners are partners and, like respondents, make and sell
lamps. Without authorization, they copied the statuettes, embodied them
in lamps and sold them"

The question was:"Can statuettes be protected in the United States by
copyright when the copyright applicant intended primarily to use the
statuettes in the form of lamp [p*205] bases to be made and sold in
quantity and carried the intentions into effect?

If you're going to quote cases in a books forum, try staying on topic,

> "The economic philosopy behind the clause empowering Congress to grant =
> patents and copyrights is the conviction that the encouragement of =
> individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public =
> welfare through the talents of authors  and inventors in "Science and =
> useful Arts."

Pray tell, how does extending copyright terms to 75 years after the
death of the author or to 95 years for commercial firms "advance public
welfare through the talents of authors and inventors in 'Science and
useful Arts'"?

It does precisely the opposite. Think about it.

> Sacrificial days devoted to such creative activities =
> deserve  rewards commensurate with the services rendered." =20
> Regarding Mr. Chapman's statements:=20
> <<The reduction to absurdity that underlies the position that art is
> created 'ex- nihlo' is exposed by our ability to know exactly what we
> mean. The problem is that understanding a language, even an artistic
> one, is insufficient. We must have negotiable means to use the language
> through which understanding is transmitted or that language atrophies.
> Because no one needs permission to understand the language they are
> situated in it is permission itself that becomes, simply, that which
> needs to be negotiated and 'grasped.' Knowing when we're infringing on
> private languages and symbols is never easy; can I talk about Mickey
> Mouse after my vacation is over- can I write about him in a hand made
> book I intend to distribute as a gift to my family? The list
> demonstrates to me that legislation currently is going entirely the
> wrong way because most lawyers are deaf to the old distinction between
> 'mention' and 'use' preferring to register medium rather than message
> and ownership over intent. Perhaps someone on the list can describe the
> legal continuum of permissiveness towards corporately owned brands and
> images as they relate to their use in the construction of hand made and
> coterie published art objects?
> I would love to know what the law says>>
> I have two comments: First, perhaps you should find out "what the law =
> says" before making derogatory comments about what lawyers are "deaf" to.  =
> Secondly, you are conflating trademark law (which protects indicia of a =
> company or product) and copyright, which protects the work of "authors".   =
> You cannot copyright a trademark (however, Mickey Mouse is a character and =
> is thus copyrightable).

Folks, this doesn't state the case properly. Check it out for yourself
or ask your lawyer.

> As Andy Warhol's ouvre famously demonstrates, the =
> appropration of trademarks into artwork does not implicate trademark law =
> because (one assumes) the art work is not being used to sell competing =
> products.  Put another way, the Campbell's Soup painting did not violate =
> trademark law because it was not on a can of soup.  This is of course a =
> very simplified explanation, but it points out a common misconception. =20
> For a brief synopsis of copyright, take a look at the Library of Congress =
> copyright site--it is in plain English and is quite good: http://www.loc.go=
> v/copyright/

Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum
immane mittam.

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