I’m prepping for a couple of lectures on Digital Copyright Issues… The notes may as well double as blog posts…
- The world’s first copyright statute was the Statue of Anne – enacted April 10, 1710 – The statute protected the interests of authors and proprietors of existing books for 21 years from the date of publication and gave owners of new works sole liberty of printing and reprinting such a book for the term of 14 years. The statute offered a right of renewal of a further 14 years after the first expired if the author/owner was still alive, no such renewal was available if the book was already in print.
- The original intent of the Statute of Anne was not so much the restriction of copying but the encouragement of creation. Giving people the right to profit from a work was intended to encourage people to continue working on creative projects.
- Copyright doesn’t protect your band’s name (that’s trademark), your chord progressions (that’s how you can have 65 songs that sound the same… see below) or your Song’s Title (how you can have 26 songs called Coming Home2 – any number of permutations thereof – and no, it doesn’t many any of them are any good!).
- Mickey Mouse and Sonny Bono have something in common. Their names occur regularly in conjunction with the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act 1988 in which the copyright term was extended to 70 years past the death of the author. The bill was named in Sonny Bono’s honour and is called also called the Mickey Mouse Protection Act as it kept Disney’s Mickey Mouse from the Public Domain for another 20 years. Disney were very strong lobbyists in favour of the bill, one presumes, for this reason.
- In 2004 in Australia, the term of protection for most copyright material was extended by 20 years in order to secure the AUSFTA (Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement) – bringing our term of copyright up to 70 years in line with the US’. However, differences in law between Fair Use (US) and Fair Dealing (AU) mean that what is legal in terms of fair copying of restricted works may be less lenient in AU than in the US due to definition of what’s legally constituted as ‘fair’ in either country’s law.