[LINK] Ars: 'Musopen raises $40, 000 to set classical music "free"'

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Tue Sep 21 20:50:25 EST 2010

At 09:20 AM 15/09/2010, Roger Clarke wrote:

>Last time I enquired about this, it appeared that there was no way to
>reliably place anything 'in the public domain' in Australia, and I
>understood that the problem afflicted many other jurisdictions as

I wonder if this is a case of 'common sense' versus 'black letter 
law'. I do know that moral rights are unassignable. It would be 
illogical if they were to be assignable. Moral rights are about who 
actually created something and that can only be one or a team of 
persons. You can't say I created something that was really created by 
Roger. So if a work appears somewhere, it would be a breach of 
Roger's unassignable moral rights if I took credit for his creation.

I think people take a layperson's view of public domain, that it is 
much more common sense rather than the actual licensing say through 
creative commons or GPL. In both those cases, there is an assigning 
of what can or cannot be done with a work in both those instruments 
as determined by the rights holder. "Public domain" has a specific 
set of rules around it written in the law whereby no specific license 
or permissions are any longer required. The copyright reverts to the public.

That is all at a superficial level. I believe in the US that though 
copyright attains at the moment of creation, the publishing industry 
and possibly the government(?) requires a registration of the 
copyright for royalty purposes. And in Australia, I believe there is 
a national library repository requirement of published works. So even 
though the law says one thing, there are regulations of practicality 
that also come into play. My research in print publishing has shown 
that usually the publisher pays for the copyright registration and is 
part of the contract with the author, so authors shouldn't take on 
that action unless they are self-publishing.

BTW, I'm back from my trip and catching up on email (it's been a 
nightmare since I got back, but appears to be working again, at least 
for a little while; my host is migrating their servers).

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.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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