Subject: Re: FW: [PIJIP-(C)] Copyright and artists fine art (UNCLASSIFIED)
From: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@SRU.EDU>
Reply-To: Dailey, David P.
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 17:03:12 -0500
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There are a couple of copyright myths sites:
 
one is from Brad Templeton (who used to hang out on cni-copyright) that has been around a long time (witness the reference to usenet) : http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html
 
others can be found through Google. 
 
I remember seeing one such site, two or three half-decades ago, that listed one of my favorites:
"if you take a visual art work and deform it via four transformations (e.g. bitmap filters) then it becomes an original work and the copyright in the original is gone" The person who told me this was full of as much certainty as if alligators had been found in his toilet. It was interesting at the time to see the emergence of folklore, opposing the intellectual property monolith, that took on such a "sociological" flavor. I began to think that a social scientist's approch to the topic might indeed be fruitful.
 
Indeed, within the past half decade or so, I've seen folks present data on how shamefully ignorant the masses are of the actual statutes, case law, treaty obligations and lobbying efforts that actually help to define ownership in our emerging landscape so ill-fenced by the boundaries of real property.
 
I have the perhaps odd viewpoint that successful legislation has the obligation to conform, somewhat, to common sense, and that departures from such create unnecessary tension betweens legislation, enforcement and the populace. As such I tend to think that like l'Academic Francaise, an overly zealous approach toward Prescriptive (as opposed to Descriptive) linguistics will drive people to speak English, or in the case at hand, to ignore copyright law. The proponents of more stringent copyright laws, in their zeal to influence legislation, may, if they are not careful, legislate themselves into dodo-dom.
 
So in addition to lists of popular myths about copyright law, sometimes advanced with a sense of indignation about the ignorance of the populace, it might be nice to put together a comparative series of myths and counter-myths. 
 
Myth: My necktie is copyrighted so you may not photograph me.
Countermyth: The public can be educated about the nuances of copyright law so that never again will they walk across a tangible medium leaving footprints from a copyrighted shoe-tread.
 
Myth: copyright expires after contemporary music stops receiving airplay
Countermyth: extending the duration of copyrights to life plus 70 years is good social policy.
 
Myth: If the only surviving copy of a copyrighted work is about to decompose, then it may be copied into an archival medium.
Countermyth: extending the duration of copyrights to life plus 70 years is good social policy.
 
Myth: facts are not protected by copyright
Countermyth: the legislature will never pass a database protection act.
 
Myth: legislation does not take away property (as in, the Sonny Bono Dark Ages will never be repealed)
Countermyth: the books that I bought prior to 1998 to share with the world, because they were about to enter the public domain (being copyrighted between 1924 and 1928 ) have retained their value because of legislation not taking away property.
 
I don't know. To make the list good and fun and readable will take a good deal more work than either the reader or the writer has this afternoon. But feel free to help me out, as I think it could be a useful exercise, in the best of sociological traditions.
 
cheers
David Dailey