Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Yoko Ono/EMI Suit Exposes Fair Use Flaw

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the I-hope-someday-you'll-sue-us dept.

The Courts 409

Ian Lamont writes "Yoko Ono and EMI Records have backed down from their suit against the makers of a documentary film who used a 15-second fragment of a John Lennon song — but only after a Stanford Law School group got involved. Even though the use of the clip was clearly Fair Use, the case exposed a huge problem with the doctrine: It's becoming too expensive for people to actually take advantage of what is supposed to be a guaranteed right. Ironically, the song in question was Imagine."

cancel ×

409 comments

So sue to recover the losses (4, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311783)

Can't the film makers just countersue to get the losses incurred by this lawsuit? If not, then there's a serious problem with the judicial system.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (5, Insightful)

Okind (556066) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311815)

> Can't the film makers just countersue to get the losses incurred by this lawsuit?

How will you coutersue if you're bankrupted before you can?

Re:So sue to recover the losses (5, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312173)

> Can't the film makers just countersue to get the losses incurred by this lawsuit?

How will you coutersue if you're bankrupted before you can?

Getting bankrupted was partly coming from having a crappy film in this case. It currently sits at 8% [rottentomatoes.com] on RottenTomattoes. This is "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" we're talking about, the pro Intelligence Design movie. I suspect the suit was as much about trying to not be associated with such drivel as it was about getting cash from the producers. Still, fair use is fair use, and Ms. Ono needed to face up to that reality to begin with. The suit should never have been brought to trial.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (2, Insightful)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312177)

> How will you coutersue if you're bankrupted before you can?

Find a lawyer who is confident enough that he will win the suit, and have that lawyer will charge a percentage. Seek damages in excess of fee.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1, Insightful)

Nicholas Hill (762121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312333)

What astounds me the most is that American justice depends on one's ability to pay the most.

On Second Thought (2, Funny)

bugeaterr (836984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312359)

You can not be my Yoko Ono.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312467)

How will you coutersue[sic] if you're bankrupted before you can?

You need Green & Fazio. They don't get a dime until you get 3 dimes.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25311827)

Let's just piss away more money while the lawyers get rich.

Why can't we sue the lawyers? (5, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312021)

I think the following provision should be in the law: if a jury decides a lawsuit is frivolous, then the lawyers that started it should pay everything they got plus punitive damages to the part that got sued, where "punitive" means "enough to hurt". No lawyer should be allowed to get *any* profit from a frivolous lawsuit. And lawyers should know enough about the law to realize that they are embarking on a frivolous lawsuit, whose purpose is just to intimidate or send a political message.

Re:Why can't we sue the lawyers? (5, Insightful)

Bishop Rook (1281208) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312133)

I think the following provision should be in the law: if a jury decides a lawsuit is frivolous, then the lawyers that started it should pay everything they got plus punitive damages to the part that got sued, where "punitive" means "enough to hurt". No lawyer should be allowed to get *any* profit from a frivolous lawsuit. And lawyers should know enough about the law to realize that they are embarking on a frivolous lawsuit, whose purpose is just to intimidate or send a political message.

And then you have a chilling effect on valid lawsuits that might, potentially, maybe be declared frivolous if the wrong jury or judge get a hold of it. And you'll have lawyers everywhere less willing to work on contingency, everyone will require a retainer.

The overall effect? Poor people with legitimate legal claims get fucked.

Re:Why can't we sue the lawyers? (2, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312417)

I don't think so. On a spectrum of lawsuits from valid (plaintif clearly harmed and has law on his/her side)-iffy-frivalous, one might only expect that a judge/jury would rule suits frivalous that are on the iffy-frivaloue side of the spectrum. Of course you might once in a blue moon get a valid suit thrown out, just as occasionally people get wrongly convicted, but that's invevitable if you're going to be making judgements - sometimes you'll be wrong and people will suffer as a result... Still better than not having a legal system in the first place, or having one where money always wins (big company sues joe six pack and wins not because of the law being on his side, but rather because of the company's better monetary ability to sustain the lawsuit).

Re:Why can't we sue the lawyers? (4, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312501)

The overall effect? Poor people with legitimate legal claims get fucked.

When did you last see a poor person suing someone to intimidate, send a political statement, or to put someone out of business?

Re:So sue to recover the losses (4, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311873)

Except that, too, is very expensive...

(Off topic to the story, but relevant to the thread: After being wrongfully arrested once, and had three extra charges (one of which could not have had anything to do with what I was doing at the time, as it only applied to drivers, when I was a pedestrian) added to encourage me to plead guilty to one of them, I flew across the country and before being rung at 5pm (the court time was 9am the next day) by my lawyer to be told that all charges had been dropped. I asked about suing for costs, stress etc., and was told I wouldn't have a chance.)

On topic to the story:
I think this not only exposes problems with the "fair use" defence, but with the entire US legal system. Exposes problems that anyone who has paid attention would already know about mind you. Court is just too expensive.

Justice is meant to be available to all, without regard to the amount of money a person has. But, no where has a justice system, merely legal systems.

(Off topic again slightly, John Lennon wrote a few songs that seemed to have a distinctly leftist bent, does anyone know if he was actually a socialist or anything similar?)

Re:So sue to recover the losses (3, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311939)

Off topic again slightly, John Lennon wrote a few songs that seemed to have a distinctly leftist bent, does anyone know if he was actually a socialist or anything similar?

He definitely had a humanist bent, but these days anyone who cares for other people regardless of cost tends to get branded as a "liberal" by the government. It's more politically correct than calling them ouright communists, which you can tell is the word burning on McCain's lips whenever is he says LIBERAL on camera...

Re:So sue to recover the losses (4, Interesting)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312185)

Except McCain and the Republicans are just as liberal as the Democrats these days. Conservatism is all but dead, replace with the bogus neocons who think that you can get the benefits of capitalism under a welfare-state system. Check out this very interesting article on the subject:

The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism [theobjectivestandard.com]

Re:So sue to recover the losses (2, Informative)

Vornan19 (1131903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312305)

Actually both the Dems and Repubs are very conservative (either politically, fiscally, or socially) to varying degrees. In the past there was a greater divergence in the way the parties practiced their core beliefs. But not now. Think of the parties as beer. One is Bud the other is Bud light. No much difference is there?

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312397)

Actually both the Dems and Repubs are very conservative

... how so?

Re:So sue to recover the losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312241)

cares for other people regardless of cost

Funny how the people wanting to care for others "regardless of cost" always want to spend other people's money doing it. Hate to break it to you, but most people just aren't worth it.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (0, Offtopic)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312251)

There's a difference between giving your all to help people and dipping into the social wealth to fund things that only really help a small segment of people.

Too much of the latter and your society as a whole will expect it for themselves and eventually become dependent on it.

IMO it shouldn't be the governments job to support causes and "help" the down-trodden but rather be flexible enough to allow it's citizens to support those things themselves.

why should the government be tasked with using tax dollars to support charities when citizens themselves can choose to how and where those dollars are spent by making donations themselves.

IMO the only difference between dems and reps is that the dems want to increase their influence by determining which social groups they will give money too and the reps want to increase their influence by determining which corporate groups they will give money too. Meanwhile they're elected entirely based on a platform of social equality on one side and biblical morality on the other... Neither is doing the American public as a whole any real benefit.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312619)

I think the people doing the branding are rightly point out that "regardless of cost" means "regardless of cost to ME, who is an uninterested 3rd party."

If you care about others, regardless of cost, that's fine. Spend your own money. But don't use government to steal my income for such purposes.. I have my own shit to take care of.

Oh, and don't try and associate me with McCain either. I want nothing to do with "liberals" or "conservatives."

Re:So sue to recover the losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312087)

This is why Newt Gingrich (yeah, I know, all you democrats hate him) advocated the "Loser Pays" system. In a nut shell, the loser of any lawsuit pays not only their own legal costs, but also those of their opponent, but only up to the amount that they actually spent themselves.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312101)

I've seen a similar scenario. When I was a neutral witness to a road traffic accident, I was asked to attend court to give evidence. This I did, and I was offered some compensation and expenses for my trouble (though my employer was kind enough to overlook the missed day of work and pay my normal salary anyway, which they were not required to do).

What I found concerning was that the accused, who was found not guilty of the offence, did not seem to be eligible for any compensation for their lost time and the effort they had made in defending themselves. My understanding is that had they had a lawyer, they might have received the costs for that, but there doesn't seem to be any provision at all for looking after the wrongly accused in their own right. As the story suggests, defending yourself can be expensive — and I live in the UK, where we theoretically have "loser pays" as the default position in court cases.

I don't know what you call a system that makes someone attend court twice, gives them stress for more than a year in total before their case is resolved, finds them not guilty... and then says "Oh, well, never mind, you'll get over it". I'm not sure the word "justice" would feature in my description, though.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312127)

In so far that "socialist" means to oppose US imperialism and to second-guess the current form of capitalism, yes he was. Certain interests in the US certainly treated him as though he was.

See the docu "The US vs John Lennon" (2006)

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312157)

Very good point. I personally think that in a civil suit, if the person who filed suit loses, they should have to pay the other party's legal expenses plus a set amount in damages. That way, you'd really have to think before you went to court over something.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312283)

To answer your off-topic question: Lennon was definitely a leftist, and there were definitely some folks who wanted him pinned as a communist, notably Richard Nixon. The film "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" discusses in great detail his political activities.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (2, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312287)

does anyone know if he was actually a socialist or anything similar?

He was anti-war. In Nixon's US, that made him a communist. No doubt in Soviet Russia, it would've made him Capitalist.

(and goddamnit, can a serious socialist really have a paisley rolls royce?)

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1, Troll)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311969)

The "makers of a documentary" here is "Ben Stein" and the "documentary" is "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed".

I was actually hoping that Yoko and EMI would win this one.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312229)

I was actually hoping that Yoko and EMI would win this one.

Then you're nothing but a pragmatist, willing to discard all principles and ethics when it is convenient to your current position. If computers were built by such people, they would still be the size of a room and take 42 days to start up.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312247)

Well, "fair use for educational purposes" would apply, except that the "documentary" is pure propaganda. In what sense would fair use be applicable?

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312513)

Your original reply:

The "makers of a documentary" here is "Ben Stein" and the "documentary" is "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed". I was actually hoping that Yoko and EMI would win this one.

My reply:

Then you're nothing but a pragmatist, willing to discard all principles and ethics when it is convenient to your current position.

Your reply:

In what sense would fair use be applicable?

So now you want to make an actual argument, rather than resort to what's convenient? What a convenient shift in discussion for you.

I haven't seen the film, and will never see it, so I don't know the context of the song. If it's just stuck at the beginning, with no discussion about how the song's words relate to the topic, then yes it is not fair use.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312517)

"Well, "fair use for educational purposes" would apply, except that the "documentary" is pure propaganda. In what sense would fair use be applicable?"

Funny, I was subjected to far more propaganda in my "education" than I ever was by any special interest group.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312433)

I was actually hoping that Yoko and EMI would win this one.

Then you're nothing but a pragmatist, willing to discard all principles and ethics when it is convenient to your current position. If computers were built by such people, they would still be the size of a room and take 42 days to start up.

Just look at the nick of the person you responded to. Now look at his old posts. He lives up to his nick. ;)

Re:So sue to recover the losses (5, Insightful)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312243)

The "makers of a documentary" here is "Ben Stein" and the "documentary" is "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed".

I was actually hoping that Yoko and EMI would win this one.

I totally agree. People who disagree with my views don't deserve the same rights as I do.

Democrats raped taxpayers and destroyed economy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312139)

Fannie Mae and the expansion of the CRA are at the heart of this current mess. Bush AND McCain both called for more regulation of Fannie Mae, and were consistently blocked by Democrats and a few whoreish Republicans. When has Obama ever bucked his own party to bring much-needed reform? The answer is NEVER. Does anyone think that Barack will call for a full and public investigation into members of Congress who got us here? If he did, he'd have my vote, but as of right now I the best I can do is to vote for someone who will stand up and oppose congressional Democrats the next time they want to pillage the taxpayers and then run and hide behind a bail-out bill.

Re:Democrats raped taxpayers and destroyed economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312301)

If you say so.

While were at it let's also ignore the fact the the last Democratic president left office with a RECORD SURPLUS, and we've had a Republican at the helm for the past 8 years. The first 6 years enjoyed a Republican majority in Congress. Their is no way that ANY decisions made during the past 8 years could have had ANY negative effect on the economy right?

I would never argue that the Democrats have historically been the poster children of fiscal responsibility. ...But, More than Half of our national debt has been racked up under the past 3 Republican presidents. ...So Am I supposed to vote Republican to be fiscally responsible? I'm sorry but I'm having a hell of a time following that logic.

Re:So sue to recover the losses (4, Interesting)

rssrss (686344) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312313)

The answer is no. In England and Canada, the loser pays the other side's legal fees. In the US, that is not the rule. And, yes it is a serious problem.

Meanwhile in the Real World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25311809)

> If a film with Hollywood producers has trouble
> using media clips, what hope does an average
> citizen have of using something without
> worrying about huge legal expenses that could
> result?

Pah. The "average citizen" is busy on bittorrent without a worry about "fair use".

Sue us all. I dare you.

Nothing new... (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311817)

Fair use is a legal defense to be used in court, therefor everyone who wants to avoid defending their case in a court avoids including copyrighted stuff in their works even if it's clearly fair use.

Terrible state of affairs.

Copyright doesn't cover fair use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312009)

It isn't a defense. It is an explanation of how the act was not a copyright controlled action.

However, and for good reason, those things that are fair use are not coded into law, so you can be sued (hell, you can be sued for being maliciously Donald Duck, it's only the police that have to have an excuse) and you have to say what fair use means there's no merit to the accusation.

Re:Copyright doesn't cover fair use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312503)

It isn't a defense. It is an explanation of how the act was not a copyright controlled action.

In other words, a defense.

Shock and Awe (1)

pcwhalen (230935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311825)

Money protects money by the overwhelming use of money. If you can't afford the same legal team Yoko has scouring indie film makers for infringement, you whimper and give in right or wrong. Same with the RIAA: bow unless you have a defense team assembled.

gold digger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25311833)

Yoko's a cunt. Ever since she lost her breadwinner she's been living on savings even though she's used to living like a queen. You don't seriously expect people are throwing money at her for her "art" because of any intrinsic talent. In fact she's such a suck-ass artist that even the fact that she's the widow of a Beatle is not enough to have an audience.

I mean ... (3, Insightful)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311867)

Could it be any other song?

The irony is in the lyrics (5, Insightful)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312421)

And I quote:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

QED

What's yellow and lives off dead beatles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25311875)

What's yellow and lives off dead beatles? Well, it's obvious innit?

Re:What's yellow and lives off dead beatles? (3, Funny)

eeyore (78059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311923)

Tsk, tsk it's an insectivorous submarine!

Re:What's yellow and lives off dead beatles? (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311937)

Banana Slugs?

Imagine (4, Informative)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311899)

When John Lennon wrote "Imagine no possessions" he was worth $150 million.

Re:Imagine (5, Funny)

HBI (604924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311935)

Hypocrisy only counts if the media calls you on it.

Much worse than that (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311961)

He is said to have bought the entire apartment below theirs in NY, and used it to hold their collection of fur coats. If he hadn't been killed when he was, he might just have lived to be bombed by an animal rights activist.

Personally, I was around in the 60s, and the Beatles were far inferior to Pink Floyd. Mind you, I'm a Southerner, I have to say that.

Re:Imagine (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311981)

That's why he had to imagine it. If he had no possessions it would have been called "no possessions, so could you please spare a pound?"

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312035)

When John Lennon wrote "Imagine no possessions" he was worth $150 million.

I don't think he wrote Imagine to say "I'm better than you because I'm living in a world without possessions." I think he was truly imagining a better world that obviously does not and never will exist. With or without him.

Re:Imagine (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312231)

Yeah, cause "imagine being poor" was what he was trying to say.

All that "brotherhood of man" stuff, meh, he wasn't trying to suggest that society was sick and pathetic or anything.

this is why copyright terms need to be 10 years (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311903)

why does anyone need the exclusive rights to something for more than 10 years? if you can't make your money on it in 10 years, it's time to stop flogging a dead horse, and if it's still popular it's long since passed into pop culture and should enter the public domain in recognition of all the support it's had...

Family Values (1)

pcwhalen (230935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311957)

True. But famous kids would stop coming home to the 'rents house for the holidays if they thought they weren't getting royalties down the road when the death rattle sounds.

"Take this job and shove it. I got a famous Dad."

Not your decision (0, Troll)

mungtor (306258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312023)

Just because you don't want others to retain rights doesn't mean that copyright needs to be limited by anybody other than the creator. If they want to give it away, fine. It's not up to you to decide that they've gotten enough out of it and it should be yours for free now. It's perfectly in your power not to use it or pay for it, but people seem to have issues with that as well....

Re:Not your decision (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312099)

Copyright is enforced by the public. It is entirely up to us how long we choose to enforce copyright terms. I, for one, am all for zero length copyright terms.. but some people think slightly longer terms are acceptable. Only Disney and similar megacorps think the life + 90 year crap is acceptable (until they need another 30 years added on).

Re:Not your decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312123)

I honestly don't think you understand what the top post to this part of the thread is about. It is not about giving it away, but limiting the length to encourage continued creation and etc.

If they want to give it away, fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312131)

They have given it away. The moment they published a book, sang a song to someone else, performed a play in front of people, exhibited a picture, the work of art is no longer theirs. I cannot force them to do anything, but I can copy it myself. To make that perfectly clear: That's something I do! That we allow them to exercise a monopoly on the distribution for a limited time is our choice, not theirs. The only choice they make is to keep their work a secret or not.

Re:Not your decision (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312159)

Just because you don't want others to retain rights doesn't mean that copyright needs to be limited by anybody other than the creator. If they want to give it away, fine. It's not up to you to decide that they've gotten enough out of it and it should be yours for free now. It's perfectly in your power not to use it or pay for it, but people seem to have issues with that as well....

Unlike European copyright law, which is premised on creators' rights, US copyright law is premised on public benefit -- encouraging creation of new works as a first and primary goal, accomplished by means of a temporary, government-provided monopoly by which creators can make a return on their work.

Perpetual copyright leads to economic inefficiencies (in which the cost to the public as a whole vastly outweighs tho benefit to the author and inheritors (if you need me to cite an peer-reviewed analysis to this effect, let me know and I'll dig up a few), to older works being lost because nobody has the rights to reproduce them (or enough economic incentive to do that at the price the present rightholder wishes to charge), and to new works which could leverage the public domain (the "creative commons") not being created.

If you want to argue that 10 years is a bad idea, that's an eminently reasonable position to take. Arguing that copyright should be perpetual, on the other hand, goes against everything US copyright law is based on, and favors a position which would be very much to the detriment of the public, including those who create new works.

Re:Not your decision (1)

mungtor (306258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312523)

My argument is that it should be up to the creator to decide how long they wish to enforce copyright for. They want to enforce it for 50 years, fine. Refile something every 5-10 years and be done with it. If they can't be bothered to file, copyright expires. It should not be up to a bunch of people who are not involved in the creation of a thing to decide how long the creator should have rights to it.

The reason people attempt to file perpetual copyright is that the things being copyrighted, in most cases, still have value. If others are uncomfortable with that, they are perfectly free to create something different/better. People should stop arguing for the removal of other's rights because it's inconvenient for them.

Re:Not your decision (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312265)

in 1893 a school teacher made up a ditty (and most likely copied the tune and lyrical idea from other songs from that time period.)

Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all.

She died in 1916.
twenty years after "Good morning to you" was first sung a song with the same melody became popular.

Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday Dear _____
Happy Birthday To You

The sister of the deceased sued and took the copyright because the songs were obviously so similar.

My parents sang that song at my first birthday party (Illegaly I may add as it was probably in a public place like a resteraunt) and the copyright will not expire until after I am dead.

The "artist" never saw a dime.
The "artist" only created something vaguely similar.
A pack of lazy useless family members and lawyers have been living off the income for the last hundred years contributing nothing to society while doing so and being nothing but a pain.

That is the copyright system as it stands.
Work for an hour and you can gain the right to charge other people for making certain sounds in public or making certain marks on paper for the rest of your life, then your kids inherite that right and then sell it to some random company and the best thing is that it will never expire since the terms keep getting longer and longer and longer.

copyright is broken.

It should last no longer than is needed to get your book published and on the shelves or your song recorded and into peoples ipods.

Re:Not your decision (0, Troll)

mungtor (306258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312583)

So write a better song, and don't sing Happy Birthday. Also, stop whining. Copyright on an existing entity does not stop you or anybody else from creating alternatives.

Re:Not your decision (2, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312603)

The copyright to Happy Birthday is not owned by the original author ..not by the new words author ..but by Warner Music Group

due to expire in 2030 (US) 2016 (Europe) currently estimated to be worth US$5 million

and is a good example of copyright that is largely ignored by the general public ...

Re:this is why copyright terms need to be 10 years (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312605)

I think you'd be rightly pissed off if you wrote a book, it didn't really sell, and then ten years later Fox released a profoundly successful blockbuster hit based on it, starring Bruce Willis in that role you really imagined for Herman Munster. And you got absolutely nothing for that. Likewise if ten years after your underground rock anthem was released to cult popularity, it was the best-selling techno-remixed ring-tone-tastic theme tune to Big Brother: The Z-List Edition, and your only available course of action was to kill yourself for being associated with such an abomination.

Use "Fair Use" for P2P hosting? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25311917)

If you can legally use a piece of a track under 'Fair Use', is it possible to create a legal P2P system where each user hosts (ie. makes available) this amount?

Could I host 30 seconds legally, and you host 30 seconds legally, and Bob hosts 30 sec and Jill hosts 30 sec?

Everyone in the country could host 30 seconds of every track in the world.

Could this work?

CH

Re:Use "Fair Use" for P2P hosting? (3, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311985)

Could I host 30 seconds legally, and you host 30 seconds legally, and Bob hosts 30 sec and Jill hosts 30 sec?

That's *exactly* how BitTorrent works. But the doctrine of fair use also implies the purpose for which the parts are used. You can quote parts of a work, for instance, to make a criticism, but not to create a full copy of the original work.

Re:Use "Fair Use" for P2P hosting? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311987)

Could I host 30 seconds legally, and you host 30 seconds legally, and Bob hosts 30 sec and Jill hosts 30 sec?

Everyone in the country could host 30 seconds of every track in the world.

Could this work?

No. "Fair Use" says that it's alright to use 30 seconds provided that it is used for the 'purposes of critique' or something like that. The basic idea is that it must be used as part of an original copyrighted work and that there is 'value added' in that copyrighted work.

So the answer is 'no'.

Re:Use "Fair Use" for P2P hosting? (2, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312263)

Nope.

Fair use is deliberately vaguely defined. Since this is a clear desire to do nothing except deprive the right holder of their exclusive rights, and not intended for criticism or other aspects of fair use, then it's illegal.

Your motivation has much more to do with whether it's fair use than the length.

Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25311931)

...there's no lawyers.

How timely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25311949)

Happy Birthday, John!

The bigger flaw is the court system (1)

blackchiney (556583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311963)

Seriously, you can be sued at anytime, for anything, with any reason. It's a strategy those with more money than you will use to force you to settle. Even if some states have written anti-SLAPP laws, it's written by lawyers to make sure lawyers always come out on top.

Re:The bigger flaw is the court system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312067)

That's why you have to use force to settle it. Personally I'm a pacifist, but I'm not naive.

P.S. Expelled sucked.

She's right (5, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311991)

I hate to admit it, but she's right. Everybody knows that such types of fair-use are what make record sales plummet. Why buy John Lennon's record when you've got a 15-second fragment of one of his song in a documentary that you can just reply as many times as you like?

That's right, you don't, which is why so many baby seal-killing pirates are now resorting to listening to documentary soundtracks just to avoid buying discs just so they can avoid giving $2 of royalties to starving artists like John Lennon. God I hate these bastards.

Re:She's right (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312211)

Why buy John Lennon's record when you've got a 15-second fragment of one of his song in a documentary that you can just reply as many times as you like?

And if you are smart enough - you just get many documentaries, each with a different 15 second fragment, and hey presto you have the whole song.

Why did I not think of that before ? I'll never have to pay royalties again!

Re:She's right (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312309)

I hate to admit it, but she's right. Everybody knows that such types of fair-use are what make *Ring-Tone Sales* plummet. Why buy John Lennon's *Ring-Tone* when you've got a 15-second fragment of one of his song in a documentary that you can just reply as many times as you like?
------------------

Fixed that for ya!

Re:She's right (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312505)

Oh my God, are you saying that these filthy pirates will go as far as hooking up a DVD player to their cell phone just to avoid paying for a ringtone??

Blast! They just won't stop until we sue and bankrupt the last of them!

Conservative Flim == SUE (1, Troll)

Mr. Droopy Drawers (215436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25311993)

Would Yoko Ono have sued about this if Michael Moore borrowed that same 15 second clip?

I think not.

It's only OK to "Imagine" a world that believes exactly as you do.

Re:Conservative Flim == SUE (3, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312175)

Glad to see you have your head on straight and are receiving signals from the mothership. How in the world do you justify such a statement? Do you know her personally? Has she expressed her willingness to let other, more left leaning, documentary producers use her dead husbands songs?

Re:Conservative Flim == SUE (2, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312223)

Would Yoko Ono have sued about this if Michael Moore borrowed that same 15 second clip?

I think not.

And (presuming for a moment that this wasn't a matter of so clearly falling into fair use that suing should never have been contemplated) that's her right. Copyright is as much about keeping control of how your work is used for the duration copyright, as it is about extracting tolls for use. It's perfectly reasonable to use it as tool to ensure your work isn't used in ways you disapprove of (indeed, this is exactly what the GPL uses coopyright to do -- ensure that the software isn't used in ways the original author disapproves of: as closed source software).

Re:Conservative Flim == SUE (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312337)

Actually, in a wonderfully apt counterexample, Yoko Ono refused to let Michael Shermer use an excerpt in one of his books a few years before. (The chapter in question was on changing attitudes to religion, for maximum appropriateness.) Difference is, of course, that Shermer actually asked and deferred to her for the sake of a quiet life. She's famously protective of the Lennon estate.

Re:Conservative Flim == SUE (2, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312515)

(I should also point out, of course, that Shermer's backing down is an example of the too-expensive-to-defend situation again. For those with too little money, fair use de facto doesn't exist.)

The film is rubbish (4, Interesting)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312005)

If it wern't for Yoko's history, I'd wonder if this was more about stopping that terrible film from being associated with Lennon than any real copyright concern.

Re:The film is rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312233)

I thought that Yoko Ono's suit had more to do with what "Imagine" was used in, and not royalties.

According to press reports, "Imagine" was used as a backdrop to footage of Nazis, where the filmmakers were making a ludicrous attempt to portray evolution and atheism as causing eugenics and Nazism. I could see her objecting to such a usage merely on personal reasons.

Re:The film is rubbish (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312317)

Did you see the 'terible' film. It was actually pretty well down and may challenge your small closed mind.

The film showed three things to me. One the elitism in science, that would deny many great thinkers if they were alive today.

That being a lemming is more important is science now than having an independant thought.

Three that many scientists would rather believe ANYTHING, including aliens creating life here, than a god exist. Which to me is the same thing, since fundie's believe God existed before earth, that actually makes Him an alien LOL

Fool as a client? (4, Interesting)

kieran (20691) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312107)

Would it really be unfeasible or inadvisable, in cases as clear-cut as this, to turn up to court yourself, sans lawyer, and say "This clearly falls under fair use. Can I go home now?"

Re:Fool as a client? (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312345)

If only. The way it actually works is that long before a court date is set the judge says "send me a brief" and each party has to write up their case. If you hand in a homework assignment the judge won't even read it. If you hand in nothing, the judge will consider it a default and you immediately lose.

Re:Fool as a client? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312581)

Someone who represents themselves really does have a fool for a client.

Representing yourself is generally done under the basic principle that the court is just and fair and will come to the right decision. Time and again this has been proven completely and utterly wrong.

Courts and the bar system are essentially a private guild to which the government subcontracts the legal system. Like all guilds, the court is a closed shop. They operate under their own idiosyncratic rules and customs and demand that you do so as well. Hence someone representing themselves is a fly in their ointment and will generally find themselves tied and tripped up by layers of procedure and red tape before they even get a chance to plead their case.

And what most people don't realize is that most lawyers and indeed many judges have no interest in justice. They are interested in procedure and etiquette and quotas. If you are convicted, regardless of your guilt or innocence, then the prosecuting lawyer will be happy, the judge will be happy and because you have no layer representing you, there will be no one in the guild who is unhappy with the verdict. Since your please for fairness and justice are not phrased in the guilds technical language, no one in their will understand what you are saying, or will choose to ignore it with impunity. Hence the court will have little incentive, or reason to find you innocent. And please remember that despite some idealistic thinking to the contrary, it is not they who must prove your guilt, but you that must prove your innocence.

It would be nice to have a better legal system. The first step is to get rid of the current guild system. Until then, do not under any circumstance even think of representing yourself. Ever.

Imagine... (5, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312109)

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

Way to bury the needle on the irony meter, Yoko.

Re:Imagine... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312395)

For sure. And I know it may be a little off-topic but this is basically the philosophy of the Zeitgeist [zeitgeistmovie.com] people (along with some of the funniest tin foil shit I've ever seen in film). This is basically the "if everyone would play nice the world would be great" school of thought.. and the way to get there is to subjugate yourself to being "part of something greater". Apparently the problem is not religion.. it's the non-inclusiveness of current religion. If we had one religion that was all about people working together (presumably with flowers in their hair) then everything would be perfect.
 

The good die first (0, Troll)

Farenji (1306493) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312213)

And they take with them all good things. One day, the only thing that's left of the beatles is that Yoko bitch and her army of lawyers, and that guy with the big nose, whatshisname, Gringo Fart or something.

By then, all music will be banned because record companies failed to find a way to charge people as soon as music hits their ears so they decided to eliminate music entirely.

Ironically (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312357)

The irony isn't that the song was imagine, the irony is that the US Constitution grants Congress the power to give copyright "To promote the progress of science and useful arts".

Good luck getting John Lennon to write any more songs. Today's copyright law is clearly unconstitutional and perhaps should not be obeyed.

"Too expensive" (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312375)

It's becoming too expensive because the doctrine is being abused to no end for monetary gain rather than the protection of the property.

Bill Hicks was HALF right... Add Dennis Leary (0, Flamebait)

thompson.ash (1346829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312469)

If you put the two together you get quite an insightful speech!

"Gandhi - Dead, Martin Luther King - Dead, John Lennon - Dead, JFK - Dead, Reagan...Wounded, I mean take John Lennon. We live in a country where John Lennon takes six bullets in the chest. Yoko Ono is standing right next to him. Not one Fucking bullet. Explain that to me!"

Ok, it's not word for word but you get my point!

Fair Use is not a right (2, Interesting)

crosbie (446285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312475)

'Fair Use' is what's left of the right to copy after most of it has been suspended to create a privilege to benefit publishers (in the belief this ultimately benefits the public).

You have a right to copy anything you create, purchase, or discover. The state has suspended this right apart from those few exceptions it terms 'fair use', but those exceptions only come into effect as defences after you have been prosecuted for copyright infringement, not before. There can be no 'fair use' without infringement.

It would be better to demand the complete restoration of the right to copy, and to abolish copyright, than to quibble about whether certain exceptions should be acknowledged prior to the commencement of any litigation.

She's only doing what Yoko Onos do. (1)

trudyscousin (258684) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312487)

46 of 50. [nypress.com]

Quite right too (1)

robajob (1238762) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312529)

Imagine? They deserve to be sued just for lack of taste.

Perhaps Forfeiture would be in order (2, Interesting)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312531)

That if a copyright holder repeatedly uses legal harassment to prevent obviously legal uses of its copyright, perhaps it should lose that copyright. All you would need is one or two lost copyrights and you would see media company behavior dramatically change.

Imagine all the people ... (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312565)

Sharing all the world

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...