[LINK] Not just SOPA and PIPA - now the US Supreme Court
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Fri Jan 20 10:35:59 EST 2012
At 10:08 AM 20/01/2012, Janet Hawtin wrote:
>Does that mean those things are still public domain if you are in
Sure, because copyright law is specific to a country. There is no
international copyright law. There are treaties, such as the Berne
treaty which removed the need for putting a (c) and year. But not all
countries are signed onto the Berne treaty.
Here's a follow-up story from another source. The details about how
this goes back to 1994 and is addressing anomolies in terms of the
law in other countries, not the US itself - e.g. items in those other
countries were NOT in the public domain - changes the emphasis. I
think now there may be more to this story than the original one I
posted about the lost suit. It may be limited to specific categories
and reactive rather than proactive restrictive generally. Not sure
how Google is in trouble on so many volumes, though.
Google library in trouble as US affirms copyright
January 20, 2012 - 3:00AM
THE US Supreme Court has upheld a federal law giving copyright
protection to millions of foreign-produced books, movies and musical
pieces and may undermine Google's effort to create an online library.
The 6-2 ruling backs a law that took works by Alfred Hitchcock, Pablo
Picasso, Igor Stravinsky and J.R.R. Tolkien out of the public domain,
barring use without permission of the copyright owner. The decision
is a victory for the film and music industries and a setback for
Google, which had said it would lose access to many of the 15 million
books it wants to make available online.
The court rejected arguments from orchestra conductors, educators,
performers, film archivists and movie distributors who argued that
the 1994 law violates the constitutional provision that lets Congress
set up a copyright system, as well as the constitution's free-speech guarantee.
''We have no warrant to reject the rational judgment Congress made,''
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority.
The statute aimed to harmonise US copyright law with rules in other
countries. The measure applied to works that had been excluded from
the American copyright system for various reasons, in some cases
because the US didn't have copyright relations with the author's home
country and in other cases because the US hadn't yet recognised
copyrights on sound recordings.
The law gave rights-holders the copyright protection they otherwise
would have had. Affected works include Tolkien's The Hobbit, hundreds
of Picasso paintings, several Hitchcock films and the music of
Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich and other Russian composers.
Congress approved the law to meet obligations stemming from the
Uruguay Round of international trade talks. The motion-picture and
music industries pushed for the provision to secure reciprocal
protection for American works abroad.
Justice Ginsburg said that was a legitimate goal under the
constitution's copyright clause, which she said let Congress focus on
encouraging the distribution of existing works and creation of new ones.
''Congress determined that US interests were best served by our full
participation in the dominant system of international copyright
protection,'' she wrote. The Obama administration defended the law.
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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