Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Project Guternberg threatened with suit

Project Gutenberg has been threatened by the heirs of Margaret Mitchell because the Australian affiliate has put up a digital text version of Gone With The Wind. GWTW is inthe public domain in Australia. The Stephens Mitchell Trust wants the Gutenberg Project to either remove the book or to take steps to prevent it from being downloaded in countries where the copyright is still protected.The threatened suit likely has no merit.

Crap like this not only shows a lack of understanding of the internet, but it also displays how grossly bloated our copyright laws have become, how disrespectful our laws of other country's laws, as well as a desire for universal standards by big business. I can understand the desire for businesses to have a standard copyright legislation that applies world wide, but on the other paw, what we have in the U.S. is awful. When the Constitution was being debated, Jefferson didn't even see the need for copyright protection. Madison argued that it must be included. They eventually compromised and provided 15 years of copyright protection to published work. Since then, businesses here have won increases in that protection. The grandest of these being the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which awarded a 20 year extension on copyrights for individual copyrights (bringing them to life of the author plus 70 years) and extended corporate copyrights to 75 and 95 years. This flies in the face of the concepts of enlightenment and smacks of corporate welfare. It is an abomination.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Makes Bono's skiing accident seem all the more tragic. After stifling creativity on the altar of corporate profit it is an abomination he shuffled the mortal coils so quickly. For divine justice to be served he should have suffered a wasting illness for fifty years, then had it extended for another twenty, then another twenty, ad infinitum.