[LINK] Not just SOPA and PIPA - now the US Supreme Court
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Thu Jan 19 23:16:33 EST 2012
[This is nuts. What has happened to the land of my birth? I guess
this is what you get when there are too many Bush conservatives
appointed to the Supreme Court. So if something was in public domain,
it may no longer be.]
Supreme Court rules against DU professor on copyright law
DENVER - For more than 10 years, Dr. Lawrence Golan was the face of
the fight. He is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit on behalf of
artists, conductors, and filmmakers from around the country.
"It's really important to us and important to our communities,"
Golan, a professor of conducting at the University of Denver, said.
Golan leads DU's Lamont Symphony and the Yakima Symphony Orchestra in
the state of Washington. In 1994, Congress passed a law with the
intention of protecting foreign works once considered public domain
to be protected under copyright law.
For the past 10 years, Golan has been part of a lawsuit to declare
that Congress exceeded its authority when the law was passed. Golan
says it was part of an effort to create international copyright
protections. But, he says the impact is different.
The Supreme Court issued a ruling Wednesday saying Congress was
within its rights.
"Because as of today, the public domain is no longer sacred," Golan
said. "As of today, something that's in the public domain may be
taken off it tomorrow."
The ruling impacts all pieces of intellectual property such as music,
books, paintings, and films. Golan says, musically, the impact will
be felt in smaller orchestras who relied on public domain music to
use at performances.
"The people really suffering are the communities that go to concerts
and are being deprived of this music," Golan said.
For example, Golan says before the 1994 law, he could purchase the
music to "Peter and the Wolf" for $75 and use it until the paper
disintegrated. Now, because it was pulled out of public domain, he
must pay an average of $800 every time his symphony performs the
classic Russian tale.
"Because of the exorbitant prices for rental and for licensing fees,
by and large, with the exception of the major orchestras in the major
cities - Chicago, New York, San Francisco - the music isn't just
being played," he said.
Golan says now if any publisher or creator that previously had
copyrights wants to pull a piece of work out of the public domain; it
can - even if the work had been considered public for 100 years.
Golan says, for example, a junior high student writing a book report
may have legally photocopied a book considered public domain for the
assignment. He says if that book is pulled out of public domain, that
student may be subject to copyright law infringement even though at
the time it was legal.
He says he's not surprised by the decision, but certainly disappointed.
"We no longer have any hope," Golan said.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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