Beta
×

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!

Supreme Court Takes Up Scholars' Rights

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the freedom-of-teach dept.

Education 190

schwit1 writes with this quote from the Chronicle of Higher Education: "For 10 years, Lawrence Golan has been quietly waging a legal campaign to overturn a statute which makes it impossibly expensive for smaller orchestras to play certain pieces of music. Now the case is heading to the US Supreme Court. The high-stakes copyright showdown affects far more than sheet music. The outcome will touch a broad swath of academe for years to come, dictating what materials scholars can use in books and courses without jumping through legal hoops. The law Mr. Golan is trying to overturn has also hobbled libraries' efforts to digitize and share books, films, and music. The conductor's fight centers on the concept of the public domain, which scholars depend on for teaching and research. When a work enters the public domain, anyone can quote from it, copy it, share it, or republish it without seeking permission or paying royalties. The dispute that led to Golan v. Holder dates to 1994, when Congress passed a law that moved vast amounts of material from the public domain back behind the firewall of copyright protection. The Supreme Court is expected to decide the case during the term that begins in October."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

You have the right to be smeared. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36371910)

You have the right to be smeared by sleazy corporations and their Republican pawns.

You have the right to an attorney to defend yourself from Republican corruption, but it will be at your expense.

You have the right to remain silent.

Anything you say will be inaccurately portrayed by right wing morons, and will be used against you in a way that doesn't even make sense.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36371942)

I hope you are wrong about that. I hate current copyright laws as they just go on way to long. I would really hope they make the right call on this, but I don't trust the government that much.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (1)

vlad30 (44644) | more than 3 years ago | (#36371964)

It always seems that most in the entertainment/copyright type industry lean towards democrats. why is that if the republicans are protecting their business model ?

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372138)

Gotta have an enemy and there's one that isn't dangerous but can be portrayed as one. Keep the rabble arguing against themselves.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372590)

Copyright industry (newspapers, TV stations, even movie studios) are owned by Republicans more than Democrats. The actors may be more visible and more liberal, but don't ever get confused that the industry is Republican as much or more than Democratic.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373166)

Well, "Republican" is less accurate than "corporatist", but given that Republicans are the party of tax cuts for billionaires and a fuck-the-poor, fuck-the-needy mentality, you are more or less correct anyways.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36373270)

Copyright industry (newspapers, TV stations, even movie studios) are owned by Republicans more than Democrats. The actors may be more visible and more liberal, but don't ever get confused that the industry is Republican as much or more than Democratic.

Let us know when you return to a planet with a blue sky.

The major players in the "copyright industry" are movie studios and record companies - MPAA an RIAA.

Got the stones to see who they give money to?

Look here [opensecrets.org] and here [opensecrets.org]

Why do I have the suspicion you DON'T have the balls to actually look at facts that will disabuse you of your infantile notions?

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (4, Insightful)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373398)

'I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.' 'I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.'

Like it has anything to do with republicans vs democrats. This is why your country is in such a shambles, the pretense that there is a left and right wing of in US politics and the incessant arguing over who is ruining the country. THEY BOTH ARE. This current debate is about media corporations, of course they will give money to whoever can help them make more money. Of course they don't care what label their puppets campaign under. By arguing about this you are causing the problem. STOP IT.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373522)

What does level of giving have to do with it? Perhaps they know the Republicans are pro-business and will support their position even if they don't fund them, so they instead funnel their bribes to Democrats?

Fox News (well, the parent company anyway) gave much more to Democrats than Republicans. Are you going to tell me that it proves that Rupert Murdoch is a liberal running the liberal Fox News? When even the most conservative ones give more to Democrats, you have to wonder what else is going on. Oh wait, the truth isn't what you are interested in. Instead you just like to insult people and quote meaningless statistics that are demonstrably the opposite of what you assert.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373836)

Don't confuse the Talent side of the news/entertainment industry with the Business side. It's the Business side that which is ultimately in charge of that industry, and they are in bed with the Republican party. You'll find a similar dichotomy in many industries, where labor leans Democrat and management leans hard toward Republican.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (0)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372096)

You have the right to remain silent.

Not if the Republican SCOTUS has anything to say about it! You gotta speak up if you want to remain silent!

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372180)

The 1994 law was passed by a Democrat majority congress and signed by Clinton. Keep knocking back that dkos kool-aid, numpty.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (4, Informative)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372226)

Oh yeah, because when you think Entertainment Mogul - the first thing that comes to mind is a Republican? Are you on crack agin??

* Doug Morris, CEO Sony Music (Formerly CEO of Universal Music), Democrat: http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/douglas-morris.asp?cycle=08 [campaignmoney.com]

* Lucian Grainge, CEO Universal Music (Owned by Vivendi), Foreign. Democrat PAC: http://www.opensecrets.org/usearch/index.php?q=Universal+Music&sa=Search&cx=010677907462955562473%3Anlldkv0jvam&cof=FORID%3A11 [opensecrets.org]

* Roger Faxon, CEO EMI (Under ownership of Citigroup), Foreign. No open records of contributions

* Lyor Cohen, CEO Warner Music, Democrat: http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/lyor-cohen.asp?cycle=08 [campaignmoney.com]

(Foreigners can't make political contributions (at least not directly to campaigns), so I looked up PAC funding.)

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372438)

You have the right to be smeared by sleazy corporations and their Republican pawns.

You have the right to an attorney to defend yourself from Republican corruption, but it will be at your expense.

You have the right to remain silent.

Anything you say will be inaccurately portrayed by right wing morons, and will be used against you in a way that doesn't even make sense.

Well, we know your brain stem is functioning. Now let's see some evidence of higher brain function.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372448)

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid you have your ass kissing all mixed up! you see it is the democrats that blow the big media cock while it is the republicans that blow the defense contractors and multinationals! See how that works, and notice how neither side works for you anymore? That is what happens when even a congressional seat in a flyover state can easily cost 40 million plus. But if you'll look at your history your big media "forever minus a single day" copyright fuckfest are nearly always hosted by the Ds, it is just the Rs don't really give a shit either way, unless you could convince them a copyright could be used for abortions or something.

As for TFA? Good luck pal! The SCOTUS has been bought and paid for for several years now, and I doubt they are gonna throw away all that delicious bribe money now. Hell did anybody even do a damned thing about Thomas cashing all those checks through his wife? Nope, so while i wish him all the luck in the world I personally think he has about as much of a chance as getting lemonade with extra ice in hell.

Re:You have the right to be smeared. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36373064)

You have the right to be smeared by sleazy corporations and their Republican pawns.

You have the right to an attorney to defend yourself from Republican corruption, but it will be at your expense.

You have the right to remain silent.

Anything you say will be inaccurately portrayed by right wing morons, and will be used against you in a way that doesn't even make sense.

Clueless moron.

There are about a billion reason$ why you can't spelll DMCA without that BIG FAT BOUGHT-AND-PAID-FOR D [opensecrets.org] .

US-centric (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36371954)

It's a shame how US-centric slashdot and its poster still are. Earth is not a disk from west to east coastâ¦

Re:US-centric (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36371984)

Yeah, I've always wondered why, in a site that exists mainly from user contributions, why those non-USians don't contribute more. Then we could get news from all around the world. It would be great. Why don't you do it?

Re:US-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372238)

English?

Re:US-centric (1, Offtopic)

zoloto (586738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372028)

That's like arguing why heise.de doesn't cater more to people outside of Germany. Get a grip.

Re:US-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372050)

I know. I wonder why the rest of the world is too lazy to contribute.

Re:US-centric (3, Interesting)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372358)

I don't see a problem with articles about conditions in the USA, as long as they make clear they only pertain to US conditions. It only annoys me when someone assumes US conditions apply to the whole world, and I don't think articles (or summaries) here on Slashdot usually make that mistake.

I like to read a lot about US copyright law and foreign policy, because, like it or not, what they do affect things in my own country.

Re:US-centric (0)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372662)

Slashdot is powered by your contributions. Last time they published statistics, 49% of /. readers were from US IP addresses, so it's not surprising that about half of story submissions are US-centric. If you want more non-US stories, submit them, and vote for them in the firehose.

sadly he is going to lose (2)

burris (122191) | more than 3 years ago | (#36371988)

Both the Copyright and the Supremacy clauses are working against him. Congress has the power to grant copyrights and in Eldred the Court said as long as they theoretically expire at some point in the future then all is well. Also, signed and ratified treaties are, along with the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Yay for "harmonization."

Re:sadly he is going to lose (4, Interesting)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372124)

As far as I know, copyright on works affected by the Eldred decision had not yet expired. I don't agree with the Eldred decision, but I think there's a big difference between extending the term of protection on copyrighted works and granting copyright on works that have entered the public domain. They're simply different issues.

As for treaties and the US Constitution both being considered "the supreme law of the land", such an observation does nothing to address how conflicts should be resolved when one bit of "supreme" law contradicts another bit of "supreme" law. I don't have much confidence in the US Supreme Court these days, but my hope is that any conflicts shall be resolved in favor of US citizens.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (3, Interesting)

burris (122191) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372176)

You're right that Eldred doesn't directly apply but it reveals the justices thinking. As the infamous Jack Valenti said before Eldred was decided, "Limited means whatever Congress says it means." I doubt much has changed since then.

I don't see how returning something to protection for a limited time conflicts with the copyright clause, perhaps you could elaborate.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (3, Interesting)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372336)

I don't see how returning something to protection for a limited time conflicts with the copyright clause, perhaps you could elaborate.

That's a good question. I don't really have an answer except to say that restoring copyright on works for which the term of copyright has already expired makes "limited times" a meaningless concept. I realize that's basically the same line of reasoning used in Eldred, but my hope is that extending copyright on public domain works is outrageous enough that the justices will think straight for a change and recognize this.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (4, Interesting)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372766)

It's also legally very problematic to retroactively revoke rights. If a work is in the public domain, you have the right to do what you want with it, including performing them publicly and creating derived works. If the work becomes copyrighted again, who owns the derived works? What happens if someone has bought and paid for the copyright to a derived work?

Re:sadly he is going to lose (3, Funny)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373556)

If the work becomes copyrighted again, who owns the derived works?

uh, The Walt Disney Company?

ha, this question was a simple one :)

Meaning of "limited" (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372576)

It seems that the Supreme Court took a very literal interpretation of what "limited" means in Eldred. As in "any quantifiable, less than infinite time". Another interpretation would be "limited to a time that makes it worthwhile to create something, but not more than that". Which would take the "limited" more seriously.

Personally, I'm in favor of the latter and I think it would work out to MUCH shorter times. Say, 30 years from date of publication for copyrights. In case of patents, I'm not sure the current system is beneficial at all.

Re:Meaning of "limited" (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372686)

There have been several studies on the optimal length of copyright for encouraging people to produce new works, and I'm not aware of any that have concluded more than 15 years - most put it closer to 7. One of the interesting things about shorter copyright terms (and the reason that they are unlikely to happen) is that it shifts the balance of power towards the creators and away from the publisher, since it means that publishers need to constant flow of new material to remain relevant. With 70 years copyrights, a publisher can continue milking a work for as long as it's popular. With a 7 year copyright, they have to sell as many as they can in a short time, because after 7 years anyone can publish their own version, and they have to keep buying the rights to new works or they will be unable to compete with the public domain.

Re:Meaning of "limited" (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372726)

Would this mean that there was more tat on the supermarket shelves?

Re:Meaning of "limited" (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372742)

Could you please supply links to any of these studies?

Re:Meaning of "limited" (1)

Blahah (1444607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373434)

I went looking for them...

These guys think indefinite copyright would maximise social welfare:
1. Optimal Copyright Length for Media Content: A Gundam Approach - http://www.jlea.jp/06kougai03.pdf [www.jlea.jp]
2. Optimal copyright length and ex post investment: a Mickey Mouse approach - http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/1551/ [uni-muenchen.de]
3. The Economic Structure of Intellectual Copyright Law (Landes & Powney 2003): http://books.google.com/books/about/The_economic_structure_of_intellectual_p.html?id=X-KkvbT6F4UC [google.com]

The only thing I could find (in Google Scholar) recommending short-lived copyright was this CED report, The Special Problem of Digital Intellectual Property (see conclusion #5) - http://www.ced.org/images/library/reports/digital_economy/report_dcc.pdf [ced.org]

I's like to see links to those '7 year' studies too.

Re:Meaning of "limited" (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373626)

according to Rufus Pollock "around fifteen years [rufuspollock.org] ", the footnote on page 3 points to Boldrin and Levine (2006) for the optimal length of 7 years.

Re:Meaning of "limited" (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373808)

Thanks. From that PDF file: "As Png (2006) notes, there is a lack of empirical work on copyright generally. Existing estimates of optimal term are very sparse. Boldrin and Levine (2005) calibrate a macro-oriented model and derive a figure of 7 years for optimal term in the United States. (Akerlof et al., 2002) in an examination of the US Copyright Term Extension Act argue, simply on the basis of the discount rate, that a term of life plus seventy years
must be too long. By contrast, Liebowitz and Margolis (2005), argue that the current US term of life plus
70 years might not be too long â" though they too do not provide an explicit model."

This is the reference at the end of the paper: "Michele Boldrin and David Levine. IP and market size. Levineâ(TM)s Working Paper Archive 618897000000000836, UCLA Department of Economics, July 2005."

Boldrin's site, with a link there to the PDF file:
    http://www.micheleboldrin.com/research/innovation.html [micheleboldrin.com]
    http://www.micheleboldrin.com/Papers/scalenew.pdf [micheleboldrin.com]
"Intellectual property (IP) protection involves a trade-off between the undesirability of monopoly and the desirable encouragement of creation and innovation. Optimal policy depends on the quantitative strength of these two forces. We give a quantitative assessment of IP policy. We focus particularly on the scale of the market, showing that as it increases, due either to growth, or to the expansion of trade throughmtreaties, IP protection should be reduced."

  I could wonder if something like that is mentioned in here, too?
    http://www.thepublicdomain.org/ [thepublicdomain.org]

There are mentions there about the high cost to future creativity of extensive copyrights, because pretty much everything people create builds on previous works.

See also my other note in this thread referencing the biggest flaw in all this economic reasoning, that science shows creativity diminishes if work is done for gain
    "RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc [youtube.com]
   

Re:Meaning of "limited" (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373674)

Thanks for the research (too bad I can't read Japanese for the first link).

I believe the seven year claim; I just would like some more studies that backed it up. About twenty years was long enough in the age of the Pony Express; why should copyrights be longer now rather than shorter? And back then, the USA ignored foreign copyrights and patents, too.

Here is part of the bigger picture, which references research supposedly by the US Federal Reserve showing that performance is worse on tasks requiring creativity if you pay for performance:
    "RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us "
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc [youtube.com]

See also:
    "Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes"
    http://www.alfiekohn.org/books/pbr.htm [alfiekohn.org]
   

Re:sadly he is going to lose (2)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372668)

I don't see how returning something to protection for a limited time conflicts with the copyright clause, perhaps you could elaborate.

Perhaps not, but try explaining how doing so "promotes the Progress of Science and useful Arts". Do you really think that the creator of something that has actually expired out of copyright into the public domain is going to start creating new works if his (very) old stuff is returned to copyright? In reality, even before the most recent extension of copyright terms it was more than likely that the original creator was long dead before the copyright expired.

Unfortunately, what will happen is that if this point is even brought up, the Supreme Court will simply rule that this is a type of commercial regulation, and hence allowed under the all-powerful Commerce Clause.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36373348)

I don't see how returning something to protection for a limited time conflicts with the copyright clause, perhaps you could elaborate.

The point of "limited" is that once Alice's work enters public domain, then Bob can create derivative works. If copyright can be restored to Alice after that time, then Bob's work will have been done in vain, and there is no incentive for Bob to "promote the Progress of the Arts", etc. So it pretty much nullifies the intent of the copyright clause.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373404)

"Limited means whatever Congress says it means."

Unless it's the debt limit.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (4, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372578)

Actually, there is fairly old case law that affirms that the Constitution trumps any treaty. I'm not sure whether that helps in this case, though, since it's unclear how much weight SCOTUS would actually give the "to promote the progress of science" clause in determining whether Congress has the power to place public domain works back into copyrighted status. Plus, there's the Commerce Clause to rain on everyone's parade yet again.

Personally, I think this would be more interestingly argued as an unconstitutional taking from the public without just compensation in violation of the fifth amendment.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (3, Interesting)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372288)

My take on things is not that congress simply has the power to grant copyrights, but that congress has the power to grant copyrights "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". As in, if copyrights are granted for any other reason (e.g. to appease lobbyists or make any entity more money), it is an unconstitutional act.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373468)

Too bad the Supreme Court doesn't care what your take on it is. All they care is how much power they can return to their masters without getting impeached.

Look at what they did in Al Kidd v Ashcroft. It plainly did not matter that Ashcroft's intent was explicitly forbidden by the law. And that was a unanimous decision. The Supreme Court cares about nothing but expanding government power.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372782)

The constitution says:

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries"

I believe that under common law at the time of writing the term "Limited Time" meant less than 99 years. This is why leases in treaties were always written for 99 years (Hong Kong, Panama, Subic Bay). Anything more than 99 years meant "forever."

I think the current copyright law in the US may be unconstitutional and all copyrights should expire after 99 years.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373210)

That is interesting and if it is well enough documented I hope the lawyers arguing against this law bring it up. The conservative Justices on this Court are very receptive to "original intent" arguments. I think that even 99 years is way too long, but it would be nice to have a Supreme Court ruling that says that anything more than 99 years clearly exceeds "limited time" as understood by the Framers of the Constitution.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373194)

The thing is that there has been a change of four Justices since the Eldred ruling. I don't know how the new Justices will rule on this issue. I would expect Kagan and Sotomayer to rule against Golan, since they, generally, favor a very expansive interpretation of the Commerce clause. However, liberals are often anti-copyright, so they may surprise me. I have no idea how Roberts or Alito view copyright (in particular the copyright clause of the Constitution).
I think that this decision will tell us a lot about this Court.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373278)

The commerce clause isn't involved with this at all, so an expansive view of it isn't relevant.

Re:sadly he is going to lose (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373564)

Well judging from the summary, the issue isn't copyright extension, but *retroactive* copyright extension. Taking a work that is *already* in the public domain away from the public domain entails many issues that don't arise when simply extending copyright. So one who believes in copyright extension might reasonably object to *retroactive* copyright extension. For example it restricts the property rights of people who, in good faith, make legal copies and derivative works while a work is in the public domain.

We can judge how sincere the "original intent" crowd is by how they treat this issue. I can't imagine that the framers ever intended for works to be removed from the public domain. Still, I suspect we'll see retroactive extension upheld, given that the two biggest logical extensions to Congress's Constitutional powers have already been accepted, namely (1) de facto perpetual copyright through unlimited rounds of copyright extension and (2) granting copyright to current copyright holders rather than to authors and inventors as explicitly granted in Article 1, Section 8. If you can accept that, that this in effect makes some public domain works to risky to use is a mere practical detail.

I'm going to go out on a limb... (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36371992)

5-4 favoring the corporatists. That does seem to be the order of the day when it comes down to it.

Unless it involves the "b b but terrorists" legal cancer (You have no need to know about this, Citizen. Your betters will not abuse it), then it's 9-0.

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372046)

This is the problem when you make stereotypical judgements of the supreme court based on the few cases you care to pay attention to. Last time there was a major copyright case, it was 7-2 favoring the 'corporatists' (and not even all corporations favor copyright; only the ones who benefit from copyright favor it). Of the two who opposed it, one was appointed by a democrat, and one by a republican.

Also, what is your weird idea about terrorists legal cancer? For example, Rasul vs Bush [wikipedia.org] was a huge defense of the rights of prisoners......it says that all prisoners, even enemy combatants, have the right to Habeas Corpus, which is huge, and was of course opposed by the Bush administration. The supreme court takes more into consideration than 'left' or 'right,' you should look into it some time.

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372080)

On these matters it's almost always 8-1. The 8 hold some stupid pro-corporate view that makes absolutely no sense, while the 1 dissenting opinion is what the other 8 should have gone for but didn't...

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372152)

No, it's 8-1 because there's no evident legal basis to overturn the lower courts. The judges decide on the law, they don't actually make it (though they're accused of it all the time). They can't just overturn properly created legislation that does not conflict with other legislation or treaties or the constitution. It will be interesting to see what sort of legal theory for overturning it will be presented (I don't think "too expensive for small guys" will cut it).

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (3, Informative)

burris (122191) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372194)

Thanks to the wonderful SCOTUSblog you can read [scotusblog.com] the opinion below, petition for cert, brief in opposition, petitioners reply, and the amicus briefs.

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372454)

But it does conflict with the Constitution, and is thus not 'properly created legislation.' Moving works from the public domain can't conceivably 'promote the progress', and it arguably limits the free speech of others.

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372480)

It does "promote the progress". If have a 0.000000000000001% greater incentive to create a work of art, because I feel secure that my great great great great grandchildren will be more likely to hold copyright, then it's still an incentive.

The issue is one of costs and benefits, which the constitution doesn't mention (IIRC).

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372536)

It also denies progress. If I have to pay 10000000000% more to actually get educated what Art is and how it works and how former artists have done it, I'll might not be able to create any art at all.
What all those theorists about how copyright is an incentive forget, is that being confronted with Art is the greatest incentive of them all. No one will try to invent a song, if he has never heard a song. No one will try to write a novel, if he had never read one. No one will ever perform an act, if he has never seen someone else acting. And let me quote Isaac Newton, who in turn quoted John of Salisbury quoting Bernhard of Chartres: "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

All Art and Culture is based on those shoulders. Copyright is fencing the shoulders and asking for an entrance fee, thus limiting the number of people who are able to see a little further.

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372700)

But you can't have more of an incentive to create a work after the fact, and the works in question under the URAA were foreign works that were created without any promise of US legal protection at the time of their creation. That argument might hold for the obscenely long duration of copyright on new works (although we ought to insist that changes to policy be evidence based) , but it doesn't hold for retroactive extensions (among the competent, anyway), and certainly doesn't hold for moving works out of the public domain.

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372702)

Actually, longer copyright terms mean that I have a lower incentive to create. My publisher can keep milking existing works for a long time, so they have less of an incentive to buy new things from me, and so I have less of an incentive to create them. This is less true in areas like software, where if you don't keep producing new features then eventually someone will independently create something independent, but software becomes obsolete long before copyright expires (no software has ever entered the public domain in the USA through copyright expiration, only through being incorrectly registered or through being explicitly released).

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (5, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372618)

No, it's 8-1 because there's no evident legal basis to overturn the lower courts.

There's enough legal basis to uphold or overturn anything that makes it in front of the Supreme Court. They decide based on their personal opinion, then pull legal basis that supports their opinion, ignoring all else. That's why the results of the case can often be correctly guessed before the case is even heard by the Supreme Court. And that's also why it's so important that parties stack the courts to force their opinion on everyone, regardless of the law. No, not all "activist judges" are Democrats. All the Republican judges are as well, they just happen to "activist" in the general direction of the nutjobs that run around screaming "activist judges."

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373392)

No, not all "activist judges" are Democrats.

That this statement even has to be written down represents a miracle of political branding and propaganda.

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373938)

They are using activist as a synonym for liberal. Which works because liberals love to run around calling themselves activists.

When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (3, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36371998)

I remember reading that when Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court to challenge copyright law, the court kept asking for examples of damage caused by the law, and Mr Lessig kept answering in abstract legal/constitutional principles. The court seemed to be of the opinion that, "if it's not hurting anyone, (and is benefiting copyright holders), there's no reason to change it."

So this time the professor has lots of evidence that actual damage is being done. It will be interesting to see if the court changes their opinion based on this new evidence.

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372054)

Yea right, they'll just find another excuse to do their employers' bidding.

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372074)

What are you even talking about? You realize that the Supreme Court is appointed for life, right? They don't get bribes, even in the name of campaign contributions. There is a reason we do it that way. Or do you know about bribes to the supreme court that we don't know about?

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372104)

It works the other way around: Those who havn't shown a career of consistant loyalty to the right people aren't going to get into the supreme court. Those people being the democratic or republican parties - which one just depends who is president at the time of appointment. Neither one can afford to appoint a judge that isn't going to advance the agenda of their party, because that's exactly what the other party will do regardless.

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372154)

Lessig answered in abstract terms because it is very, very difficult to quantify the cost of removing something from the public domain. It's easy to see the benefit: just count the revenue generated by the IP for the rights holder. I suspect that Golan is going to run into the problem of "I see that it is too expensive for you to play Prokovief. Why is that more important than Rightholder A making money off of his sheet music?" Damage might be there, but it is always put into the context of the benefit derived from the existence of the copyright. And he's going to lose that battle every time: because music in general is a big market, and therefore there is no need to play a particular piece - but an individual rightsholder derives direct benefits from the royalties of a particular piece that he/she can't derive from any other piece.

Sometimes, in the rush to quantify everything, we forget that part of what makes us a civilization is the culture that we have in common. What is the value of that? I don't know. What price is a life? I don't know either. Sometimes, abstract considerations are necessary to work around the morass that is the monetary valuation of a moral position.

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (4, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372258)

With respect, I believe that Lessig also answered in abstract terms because he's a tenured professor with a strictly theoretical knowledge of the law, and (demonstrably) very little understanding of how courts and judges actually operate. Ultimately, his argument was reduced to "Aw, c'mon", and appropriately enough, his textbook knowledge has provided a textbook example of how not to argue a case.

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372468)

That's a nice theory, Rogerborg. In theory, you'd be right. But of course in practice, that's not nearly how it works...

Lawrence Lessig (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373122)

Yeah, it's not like Lessig ever clerked for high profile appellate judges like Richard Posner or supreme court justices like Scalia.

He doesn't really have any practical experience with the higher courts and how judges make up their mind.

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373504)

he's a tenured professor with a strictly theoretical knowledge of the law, and (demonstrably) very little understanding of how courts and judges actually operate

In other words, Lessig argued based on the law. The Supreme Court ignored all that and ruled the way that would please their cronies. There's no way to explain the behavior of the Supreme Court in the past decade that doesn't involve corruption.

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373622)

I think it's more likely that he screwed up by not anticipating this question. That's a blunder, of course, and may reflect a little hubris if he thought he had a couple of slam-dunk arguments. If he had a few minutes he probably could have come up with a concrete example, but you don't get a few minutes to think because hostile justices will continue peppering you with questions.

the answer was done to perfection before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36373760)

the answer was done to perfection before:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/25/1345/03329 [kuro5hin.org]

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (5, Insightful)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372860)

"I see that it is too expensive for you to play Prokovief. Why is that more important than Rightholder A making money off of his sheet music?"

You're probably right that the judges will reason that way, but the proper answer to the above is:

"Granting Rightsholder A the right to make money from his sheet music does not produce any net benefits; it merely transfers money from the buyer to the rightsholder. The transfers need to stimulate production of new works to have a net benefit, and extending copyright on existing works doesn't qualify. Extending copyright on those works does, however, result in a net loss, since they have a hemming effect on the performance of said works, which means fewer people will be able to enjoy and benefit from them."

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36373502)

And they'll select to play something that they have to pay for, so the musician's publishing company benefits, and the musician's publishing company will invest in more spamvertising and DRM, and some DRM programmer in India will get paid, and MacAffee will sell upgrades to help keep th4e DRM rootkits from breaking your system. See? Everyone benefits!!!!

tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36373520)

However income from royalties is taxable, therefore more beneficial to the government.

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372722)

So this time the professor has lots of evidence that actual damage is being done. It will be interesting to see if the court changes their opinion based on this new evidence.

I'm failing to see the harm here. So small orchestra's can't play some music. So play some others. There are a lot of small groups across the country that can't do certain things because they can't afford the equipment. Are they being harmed? Perhaps the manufacturers should be sued to give these small groups the equipment?

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (2)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372900)

You're conflating two different arguments here:

1. There's no actual harm to orchestras (untrue; and even if it can be argued that the harm is small in purely economic terms, it has a significant effect on academics, research and fine arts)
2. The smaller orchestras have no right to use music without paying (irrelevant, since that right was already granted to them by letting the works fall into the public domain, and taking it back at a later date is similar to confiscation)

You do understand that the issue here is letting works fall into the public domain and than taking them back, don't you?

Re:When Lawrence Lessig went to the supreme court (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373526)

If I have just finished a month of work creating arrangements of Shostakovich's works for my orchestra next season, then I have just lost a that work. What does public domain mean, if not permanent?

"behind the firewall of copyright protection" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372034)

"behind the paywall of copyright extortion", surely. Anyway, given the Supremes' current record, I'm not very optimistic.

The law in question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372062)

The '1994' law was the 'Uruguay Round Agreements Act' passed by a lame duck Democrat majority congress shortly after it had had its ass handed to it by US voters. It was rapidly signed by Clinton.

Hollywood getting its monies worth. [opensecrets.org]

the problem is Google (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372064)

Google, by trying to make money from old works through discriminatory deals with publishers and libraries, has attempted to monetise the public-domain and the nearly-public-domain on a massive scale. No longer is the path to public domain a path to moving ideas and their expression into the people's hands - it's now something that a sufficiently large corporation will try to wrestle control of for itself. The law thus has good reason to view old works as subject to all the usual competition and ownership rules as new works.

The people are as much to blame for their passivity, of course. We, through non-profits and libraries, should have been preparing to distribute old work on a massive scale - to make it clear that it belongs to the people and it is in our interests to hold onto it for our enjoyment. Instead, we lazily allow business to deal with it. We suffer the expected consequences.

Re:the problem is Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372146)

non-profits

Tax havens and influence laundering.

Re:the problem is Google (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372216)

Just because something can be, it doesn't mean it is.

You might as well say, "Humans? Murderers." Are you a murderer?

Re:the problem is Google (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372632)

But they are, by definition, tax havens. There's no reason to be legally defined as a non-profit except for the tax benefits. In fact, every for-profit corporation that doesn't pay dividends is non-profit at that point in time, just not legally defined as such because they can, at any time and without any repercussions, start paying dividends.

Re:the problem is Google (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372266)

Agreed, although I was going to say that Google suggests a solution: you don't ask permission, you just do it, and damn their eyes. Make "rights" holders bring the cases and show how much they've been "damaged".

Re:the problem is Google (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372304)

Had Google acted philanthropically, providing free public access to the raw data as works are digitised, that would be fine. And it might still benefit financially out of having the sheer resources to provide some impressive hosting of the works for end users.

But it didn't. It played its usual "information for all - but more information for us than for you" game. Publishers groups etc saw it for what it was and we all lost out.

Re:the problem is Google (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372554)

Had Google acted philanthropically, they couldn't have shown damage from being no longer allowed to do so. Copyright is about business, and to argue about copyright, you have to show a business case.

Re:the problem is Google (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372848)

Exceptions to copyright are not inherently about business, and at least nominally, copyright is about enriching society. One of the four factors in fair use is nature of use, which favors non-profit purposes somewhat.

Re:the problem is Google (1)

pacinpm (631330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373028)

Copyright was introduced to fight competition. Read about history of copyright. It had nothing to do with "promoting" or "enriching society".

There were times without copyright and there were plenty of music and other arts.

Re:the problem is Google (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373112)

I'm not saying it worked, and it appears that it never has, but the way the modern incarnation (the previous incarnation being pretty much just about censorship to benefit the church and crown) was sold was on the premise that granting limited monopolies to authors would benefit society. In the case of the US, the clause in the constitution that allows copyright is limited to the purpose of 'promoting the progress.'

Re:the problem is Google (1)

wygit (696674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373456)

So let's block it because they *might* benefit financially. There's no benefit to the public in having all those wonderful but not-worth-reprinting books from the 60's, 70's, 80's digitized and made available for very cheap if not free.

I'd LOVE to get my hands on a copy of T.J. Bass ("The Godwhale") or some of Thomas Burnett Swann's mythology stories, or the REST of Leonard Wibberley's "Mouse" books for my reader.

But no, it's much better that they just disappear from memory, from anyone even knowing they exist, isn't it?

Ex Post Facto Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372098)

How is reactivation of an expired copyright not an ex post facto law?

Re:Ex Post Facto Law? (2)

burris (122191) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372290)

The questions presented by the petitioners are whether the law violates the copyright clause and the first amendment. The prohibition on ex post facto is only mentioned in the petition in a footnote in reference to a reliance mentioned by the Gov't in Eldred's oral arguments. According to the opinion below, the legislation in question doesn't .

It also interferes with the specific reliance interests Solicitor General Olson referred to in Eldred, because each Petitioner here relied on the Public Domain status of the works they performed, adapted or distributed. See Golan H, 501 F.3d at 1193.4

4 The difference between extending the term of existing copyrights and resurrecting copyrights in works that were
already part of the Public Domain parallels the distinction this Court has drawn in other contexts. This Court has, for instance,
recognized the legislature may extend the statute of limitations for criminal offenses without violating the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution, but cannot revive time-barred prosecutions once the statute of limitations has run. See Stogner v. Califor- nia, 539 U.S. 607, 617-18 (2003). One of the bases for this distinction is the reliance interest that vests upon the expiration of the limitations period. See id. at 631-32. This Court has recognized a similar distinction in regard to the expiration of civil limitations periods. See id. at 632 (citing Chase Securities Corp. v. Donaldson, 325 U.S. 304, 312, n.8 (1945); William Danzer & Co. v. Gulf & Ship Island R. Co., 268 U.S. 633, 637 (1925)). If there is an important reliance interest in avoiding prosecution for criminal acts (Stogner) or civil liability for the illegal sale of securities (Chase Securities), the public’s reliance interest in maintaining the right to lawful expression should be greater still.

Also, the legislation in question protects people who created a derivative prior to restoration from being locked out entirely, from the 10th circuit opinion:

Section 514 provides further protections for reliance parties who, prior to restoration, created a derivative work4 that was based on a restored work. Under Section 514, “a reliance party may continue to exploit that derivative work for the duration of the restored copyright if the reliance party pays to the owner of the restored copyright reasonable compensation . . . .” Id. 104A(d)(3)(A). If the parties are unable to agree on reasonable compensation, a federal court will determine the amount of compensation. See id. 104A(d)(3)(B).

Seems to me that Congress anticipated this type of challenge.

Re:Ex Post Facto Law? (2)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372732)

a reliance party may continue to exploit that derivative work for the duration of the restored copyright if the reliance party pays to the owner of the restored copyright reasonable compensation . . .

Whoa, wait, what? Is it just because I haven't had any coffee yet? Or does that say that someone who created a work based on something that was public domain when it was created, would have to start paying the new rights holder after copyright is restored?

That seems to fly in the face of Ex-post Facto to me, rather than display how it doesn't interfere with it.
Sigh...

The law does not make anything expensive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36372528)

To be perfectly fair, it is not the fault of the law that some pieces of music are out of the reach of small orchestras. That is the fault of the idiots who are in charge of the estates of the composers, who apparently think it's a good idea to stop smaller ensembles from performing the pieces.

That's not to say the law is right -- the length of copyright is way too long anyway -- but this particular problem could be resolved if the people in charge of pricing these things weren't idiots.

Re:The law does not make anything expensive... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36372756)

Being priced out of range doesn't necessarily mean idiocy. What matters to publishers is the money they make, not how many copies they sell. If they sell 1/5 as many copies as 10 times the price, they have doubled their profit relative to reasonable pricing.

Text of the Doomsday book is still copyrighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36373196)

Here in the UK William the Conqueror who invaded England in 1066 arranged for a survey of land ownership. The work was completed in 1085 (or so).

You would have thought that the copyright to that work would have long passed into the public domain and it is if you care to read the original document and copy it out manually.

However the National Archive allowed a private company to digitise it. In exchange the private company was given the copyright to the text and the public have access to that text only via their website. Anyone who wants access to the whole document in text form is out of luck.

So, a thousand years after the production of the document the public still don't have access to the text version.

The people running public institutions need constant supervision.

Re:Text of the Doomsday book is still copyrighted (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36373426)

Its the Domesday book, (the spelling was different back then I guess)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?