Casino Royale, Marilyn Monroe’s Playboy cover, The Adventures of Augie March, the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Crick & Watson’s Nature article decoding the double helix, Disney’s Peter Pan, The Crucible... Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1953 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2010. What might you be able to read or print online, quote as much as you want, or translate, republish or make a play or a movie from? How about Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel? Fleming published Casino Royale in 1953. If we were still under the copyright laws that were in effect until 1978, Casino Royale would be entering the public domain on January 1, 2010 (even assuming that Fleming had renewed the copyright). Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2049. This is because the copyright term for works published between 1950 and 1963 was extended to 95 years from the date of publication, so long as the works were published with a copyright notice and the term renewed (which is generally the case with famous works such as this). All of these works from 1953 will enter the public domain in 2049.
Tag Archives | Copyright
Peter Lauria writing in the New York Post:
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Online pirates pinched more than 20 million copies of “Star Trek” and the sequel to “Transformers,” giving those two Paramount Pictures releases the dubious distinction of being the most ripped-off films of the year, according to a report released by file-sharing tracking service TorrentFreak.
Though the “Transformers” sequel bested “Star Trek” at the box office, Trekkie faves Kirk and Spock were more popular than morphing car-robots among digital thieves.
TorrentFreak reported that “Star Trek” was illegally downloaded just under 11 million times, while 10.6 million copies of “Transformers” were lifted.
While precise data is hard to come by, the pirated copies certainly seem to have cost the studio. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, worldwide revenue at the Viacom-owned studio fell $535 million, or 13 percent, to $3.7 billion.
“Transformers” still ranks as 2009’s highest-grossing film at the domestic box office, raking in $402 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
DAN ROZEK reports in the Chicago Sun-Times:
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Taping three minutes of “Twilight: New Moon” during a visit to a Rosemont movie theater landed Samantha Tumpach in a jail cell for two nights.
Now, the 22-year-old Chicago woman faces up to three years in prison after being charged with a rarely invoked felony designed to prevent movie patrons from recording hot new movies and selling bootleg copies.
But Tumpach insisted Wednesday that’s not what she was doing — she was actually taping parts of her sister’s surprise birthday party celebrated at the Muvico Theater in Rosemont.
While she acknowledged there are short bits of the movie on her digital camera, there are other images that have nothing to do with the new film — including she and a few other family members singing “Happy Birthday” to her 29-year-old sister at the theater.
“It was a big thing over nothing,” Tumpach said of her Saturday afternoon arrest.
Many thanks to Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing for publicizing this. Certainly not change I can believe in:
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The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama’s administration refused to disclose due to “national security” concerns, has leaked. It’s bad. It says:
- That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn’t infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.
- That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet — and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living — if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
This is a great article on ars technica from Nate Anderson:
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It’s almost a truism in the tech world that copyright owners reflexively oppose new inventions that do (or might) disrupt existing business models. But how many techies actually know what rightsholders have said and written for the last hundred years on the subject?
The anxious rhetoric around new technology is really quite shocking in its vehemence, from claims that the player piano will destroy musical taste and the “national throat” to concerns that the VCR is like the “Boston strangler” to claims that only Hollywood’s premier content could make the DTV transition a success. Most of it turned out to be absurd hyperbole, but it’s interesting to see just how consistent the words and the fears remain across more than a century of innovation and a host of very different devices.
So here they are, in their own words—the copyright holders who demanded restrictions on player pianos, photocopiers, VCRs, home taping, DAT, MP3 players, Napster, the DVR, digital radio, and digital TV.
Jason Kincaid writes on TechCrunch:
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We reached out to Shepard Fairey about the AP’s release this evening claiming that he had admitted lying about which image he used as the source image for his iconic Hope poster. He sent us a response (reproduced below), which effectively confirms what the AP says.
Tonight’s admission focuses on the photo that Fairey originally claimed to use during his creation of the ‘Hope’ poster — he claimed to use an image other than the one the AP claims to own, and then lied and deleted evidence when he realized he was wrong. Both were taken at the same press event. The one Fairey originally said he used showed Obama next to George Clooney, the one he really used was a close-up. The AP has succeeded in character assassination (perhaps rightfully so given Fairey’s actions), but Fairey may still have a case arguing that his image is protected under fair use.
David Kravets writes in Wired’s Threat Level:
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Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
But Wall Street Journal illustrator Noli Novak says Spanish artist Jose Maria Cano engaged in outright plagiarism in producing a large painting that meticulously duplicates Novak’s stipple portrait of President Barack Obama, including the surrounding text that ran on the front page of the Journal last year.
Jose Maria Cano’s giant hand-painted copy of Noli Novak’s Obama drawing “He copied it dot by dot,” Novak said.
Cano, who could not be reached for comment, has produced an entire series of paintings copied from the Journal’s signature stipple portraiture — all of them several times larger than the newspaper clippings from which they’re derived.
In a Tuesday blog post accusing Cano of misappropriation, Novak wrote that the attorneys for the Journal — which owns the copyright to her original Obama drawing — are looking into the matter.
For all of you who are rooting for a more flexible and practical copyright law, this should be hailed as a significant victory, as reported by Andrew Albanese in Publishers Weekly:
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In what Fair Use advocates this week hailed as a vindication for the rights of scholars to use copyrighted materials for critical works, the literary estate of James Joyce has agreed to pay $240,000 in legal fees to settle a copyright lawsuit sparked by what attorneys called “threats and intimidation” by Stephen James Joyce, in his efforts to deter author Carol Shloss from quoting Joyce family documents or works in her book and in a subsequent Web-based supplement. The settlement, attorneys say, suggests a rather novel concept: sometimes the best fair use defense is a good offense. “This case shows there are solutions to the problem Carol Shloss faced other than simple capitulation,” said Stanford Fair Use Project executive director Anthony Falzone, whose organization represented Schloss.
President Obama just appointed Victoria A. Espinel to be the first U.S. copyright czar. The position sounds like one more unnecessary addition to Washington bureaucracy (and it probably will be), but Espinel actually has a real opportunity to help fix our profoundly broken copyright laws, which--rather than fostering creativity, as they were originally intended--now inhibit it at every turn.
Over the last century our copyright system has been co-opted by large corporations whose profit motives often conflict with the fundamental goals of copyright policy. Indeed, the job of copyright czar was created as part of yet another industry-approved intellectual-property law that ratchets up enforcement and strengthens copyright protection despite any real evidence that such measures are necessary, let alone desirable. (Full legislation here.)
If she hasn't seen it, the first thing Espinel should do is watch RiP: A remix manifesto, Brett Gaylor's superb documentary about the serious social and economic damage caused by our overly aggressive copyright regime.
The film makes its point by focusing on the culture surrounding remixes: those multimedia, digital mashups that exemplify expression in the internet age. Its central character is the popular musician Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis), a remix artist whose songs are made entirely from digitally manipulated samples of other songs. Gillis' instrument is his laptop. Given the history of music as one of influences, sampling and (analog) remixing, he doesn't see what he does as any different from what Led Zeppelin did when they took "You Need Love" by Muddy Waters and turned it into "Whole Lotta Love."