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RE: [dvd-discuss] [Off topic] European Copyrights Expiring onRecordings From 1950's

On Fri, 3 Jan 2003, Dean Sanchez wrote:

> I don't think that I have incorrectly characterized his position; I used
> his own words in context. He is upset that the corporations will have to
> sell the works in a competitive manner instead of a monopolistic way. He
> is complaining when someone else uses legal maneuvering (as the
> Copyright Industry is so apt to do) to get around a law that is arguably
> unfair itself.

Yes, but he is not upset by his language, at having to compete with works 
that the European branch of his own company made should they be reimported 
and undercut him; only at the illegal _import_ of works legally created 
elsewhere that his company did not print.

> The copyright holder released his or her works in a country with shorter
> copyright with the understanding that they would expire and that he or
> she would no longer have any control of the work.  Stress on the word
> 'any'. That also means distribution. If they didn't like those terms,
> they didn't have to release the works in that country. They no longer
> have foundation for complaining later just because they were able to
> bribe the politicians in another country to give them longer copyrights.
> The argument about getting screwed by a country with shorter or no
> copyright is specious.  If they agree to the release of their material
> in such a country, then my previous argument holds.  If they didn't
> agree, then the material was never legal to begin with and I would agree
> that they have a valid stance.

Yes, but the copyright balance in a foreign country shouldn't dominate the 
balance struck here, nor vice versa. Holding a copyright in Pottsylvania 
where the term will expire in ten years is fine, and authors shouldn't get 
uppity when it does so. But if the copyright in the US lasts longer than 
that, it should meaningfully last longer to uphold our own balance, and 
not be undercut.

I don't mind a dramatic lessening of copyright, but I stop short of a race 
to the bottom -- I don't think that the optimal copyright balance is zero. 
Not yet, anyway. There's still some good left in the system.

> From your reasoning, can I also assume that you have no problem with the
> Industry using region coding to restrict distribution and artificially 
> inflate prices? Or with Microsoft's assertion that the 'gray' market 
> sales of its surplus software should be illegal?  Or Levi's attacks on
> importers/distributors that purchased authentic Levi products for resell 
> in a different country?  Or the numerous examples where companies claim 
> copyright violation in similar cases?

Ah, you assume wrongly. I've long stood firmly against any kind of
self-help measure such as region coding or encryption, and feel that works
so encumbered are undeserving of copyright altogether. Nor do I have a
problem with gray market resale, which is not at issue here. This is
because their sale would be legal in the US per first sale, and import
restrictions are only an aspect of the 106 distribution right, not
anything new -- first sales abroad are still first sales, and this is
settled law.

What we're talking about is not Levi Europe competing against Levi USA via 
a third party importer. It's a subtle but important distinction.

> The intellectual product that is to be imported was legally created
> under the terms that the holder agreed to.  First sale is not an issue
> here; it is no longer just their product, it belongs to the public.

But the issue isn't the creation. It's the importation. Let Europeans 
create p.d. copies all they like. I have no issue with that. Only with 
their entry into the US (and then only to a certain extent; the 602 
exemptions seem generally alright to me).

> The copyright industry has received a free ride on the public's shoulder
> for many more years than the founders of this country ever intended for
> them to have.  The article itself makes the statement about how the
> release of this material in to the public domain is already leading to
> innovation and progress - the goal of copyright.

I agree -- but it's not in OUR public domain yet, and it'll have to be for 
an import to be proper.

> So yes, I have a big problem with a spokesman for the RIAA
> characterizing this as 'piracy'.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Joshua Stratton [mailto:cpt@gryphon.auspice.net]
> Sent: Friday, January 03, 2003 2:56 PM
> To: dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
> Subject: RE: [dvd-discuss] [Off topic] European Copyrights Expiring on
> Recordings From 1950's
> I don't really agree, nor have you correctly characterized his position, 
> IMO.
> It's not the making of legal recordings that he says is piracy -- it's the 
> import to a place where they could not have been legally made by the same 
> party. And that import can be infringement under 17 USC 602, IIRC.
> I don't really have a problem with this one; for once it seems to have 
> been handled acceptably. This prevents copyright holders from getting 
> screwed by a country that had an ultrashort term or no copyright at all 
> that exported works to places that had longer terms and were thus 
> worthwhile. The copies made not for export in that country are fine, 
> however.
> As interpreted, it doesn't impair first sale, and there are some good 
> statutory exemptions.
> On Fri, 3 Jan 2003, Dean Sanchez wrote:
> > Neil Turkewitz's quote,``The import of those products would be an act of piracy'', is a classic RIAA sound bite.  In its eyes, even a legal recording is piracy if they don't make money off of it.  This is even worse than  the executive that said that leaving the room during a television commercial was stealing.  What twisted ethics the Copyright Industry has.
> > 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Kurt Hockenbury [mailto:khockenb@stevens-tech.edu]
> > Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 6:31 PM
> > To: dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
> > Subject: [dvd-discuss] [Off topic] European Copyrights Expiring on
> > Recordings From 1950's
> > 
> > 
> > Record companies are upset because European copyrights are exiring.
> > 
> > http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/02/international/02CND_COPY.html
> > 
> > "Copyright protection lasts only 50 years in Europe compared to 95 years in
> > the United States, even if the recordings were originally made and released in
> > America."
> > 
> > Obviously, the US needs to "harmonize" our copyright law and change our
> > expiration to 50 years.  :-)
> > 
> > 
> >