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copyrights rule and contradictions

updated thu 17 aug 00


dibby on wed 16 aug 00

Hi Clayarters,

The challenge of copyright will be severly tested by the Internet and it =
threathens to make a mockery of control.

Copyright has its roots in England involving royal patents that =
facilitated control of publishing ,notably with regard to =
taxation...late 18 century it was reformed to provide for the protection =
of authors against unauthorised copying for a limited time ( 28 yrs) =
before it became public property.

Interesting enough the Berne Convention in 1886 was not signed by the =
USA untill 1988. The system is designed for two purposes that are =
essentialy inimicable to one another: the promotion of the widest =
possible distribution of works, which is considered public interest, and =
control- in practice the restriction- of distribution that is seen as =
being in the authors interests.

Copyright law tries to overcome the contradiction with the additional =
concept of 'Fair usage', which is intended to balance the competing =
interests by allowing limited copying for such purposes as news =
reporting, TEACHING, criticism and research. As you can imagine the term =
'Fair USAGE' is impossible to define in todays terms and the whole =
approach falls foul of the right to freedom of information- the free =
flow of ideas- which is increasingly being seen as fundamental to =
constitutional law. It has become a form of control that is potential =

If the copyright law is to be dumped ( I second that motion) then what =
will replace it... the old system in a new form ....patronage in the =
form of sponsorships..I mean large Companies spend millions sponsoring =
football why not a squad of Nobel Prize winners.....Stephen King has =
done away with copyrights to his new books...I say open the doors to =
sponsorships and let the info roll....

Arthur.... PS by the way the Encyclopaedia =
Britannica is freely available and copyable on the internet...need we =
say any more?.

Christopher Anton on wed 16 aug 00

>>...Stephen King has done away with copyrights to his new books

You might want to check that one again. If he did away with the copyright,
anyone could distribute them with no royalties paid whatsoever. What he has
done is eliminated traditional paper-based publishing. He still retains
full rights to all his works.

- Chris Anton