August 3, 2009

A License To Steal (From Thomas Jefferson)

When it comes to abuse of a copyright ownership, here's one of the funniest and most pathetic things I've seen in a long time. For the sum of $12.00, The Associated Press granted James Grimmelmann of The Laboratorium a license to quote from Thomas Jefferson. He has the letter to prove it. When they discovered that the request was a bit of a hoax, they revoked his license and refunded his $12.00. Will they now sue him for quoting Thomas Jefferson?

Copyright law is complex enough. When a computer manages it, it can turn just plan nuts. A definition of fair use that doesn't take ten lawyers and three judges to figure out would be a very nice thing.

Via Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub

Posted by Duane Smith at August 3, 2009 2:10 PM | Read more on Odds and Ends |

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This is the problem of upholding copyright in the age of the internet. As far as I'm concerned, traditional copyright is as good as dead now and can't really be upheld in law to any worthwhile or rational degree because of the inevitability that information can now be copied and distributed across the world literally in seconds. If one wants to sell something that people can't copy, try an ongoing service rather than copyable one-time creations like books, music, images, or even quotes.

Posted by: Glen Gordon at August 4, 2009 5:24 PM

While working on this paper, I got a permit from Macmillan Publishers to use a drawing from a paper Charles Darwin had published in Nature in 1878. I didn't have to pay; otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered. It took about 5 minutes to get the permit over the Internet. I did it primarily because our paper was going to be published in the UK & I am not familiar with their copyright laws.

Posted by: Aydin at August 4, 2009 6:05 PM

So we are to pay for each and every snippet of information to republish what is already available online for fear that corporations come after us with lawyers? How then does an individual pay all this? Aaaah, that's right. An individual is to shut his or her mouth because people without funds are non-people. Sounds like a delightful blend of both individual ignorance and corporate tyrrany to me. Here's to a brave new future.

Posted by: Glen Gordon at August 7, 2009 7:08 PM

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