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RE: [dvd-discuss] [Off-topic] Eldred v. Ashcroft.

On Wed, 7 Aug 2002, Dean Sanchez wrote:

> I agree with the second paragraph.  The Constitution expressly
> indicates that copyright must be of a limited time; do anyone know
> where and when the idea of a common law copyright come about?

The idea dates back at least to the 1600's/1700's, when the English
Stationers' Guild was attempting to convince Parliment that limited
copyright terms were a bad idea.  IIRC, one of their arguments was
something along the lines of "there is a prepetual common law property
right in authorship, the government copyright regime merely codifies this,
but does not over ride it, and can't abridge it."  Parliment more or less
ignored them and instituted limited copyright terms anyway, to the great
benefit of people all over England as cheap books flooded the market.
The "historians" amicus brief in Eldred goes into WAY more detail about
the history of copyrights if anyone is interested:


I find it frustrating that this idea of prepetual ownership/copyright of
creative works keeps being brought up, despite the fact that both the UK
King's Bench and the US Supreme Court have EXPLICITLY rejected it.  I
believe the citations for each are in that brief, if they aren't I can get
them in 3 weeks when I get back to school.

Mark Kornblum
(dvd-discuss lurker extrodinaire)