FW: Harvard profs. file lawsuit challenging "copyright giveaway"


Subject: FW: Harvard profs. file lawsuit challenging "copyright giveaway"
From: Mark Perkins (MarkP@spc.org.nc)
Date: ke 13 tammi  1999 - 22:36:56 EET


Thought this may be of interest to the list.

Mark Perkins
Secretariat of the Pacific Community Library
BPD5
98848 Noumea Cedex
New Caledonia
South Pacific
Tel: +687 26 20 00 Fax: +687 26 38 18
Email: MarkP@spc.org.nc

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Declan McCullagh [SMTP:declan@well.com]
> Sent: Thursday, January 14, 1999 1:26 AM
> To: politech@vorlon.mit.edu
> Subject: FC: Harvard profs. file lawsuit challenging "copyright
> giveaway"
>
>
> >Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 22:44:12 -0500
> >To: declan@well.com
> >From: Jonathan Zittrain <zittrain@law.harvard.edu>
> >Subject: copyright lawsuit
> >
> >FYI!
> >
> >How Long Is Too Long? Recent Congressional Copyright Giveaway Claimed
> >Unconstitutional
> >
> > January 12, 1999 - Cambridge, MA - Lawrence Lessig, the Berkman
> Professor
> >of Law at Harvard Law School, announced today the filing of a lawsuit on
> >behalf of Eldritch Press, a non-profit organization that posts literary
> >works in the public domain onto the Internet. The suit challenges
> >Congress's recent retroactive extension of the term of copyright by
> another
> >twenty years. Professor Lessig is joined as counsel by Professor Charles
> >Nesson and Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society
> >at Harvard Law School, and Geoffrey Stewart of Hale and Dorr.
> >
> > In 1790, Congress provided for up to twenty-eight years for a work's
> >copyright--after which the work would enter the public domain, freely
> >copyable and usable by anyone. Since then, Congress has enacted a series
> >of extensions, including the Copyright Act of 1976, which provided for
> >copyright terms of up to seventy-five years--retroactively extending
> >copyright for works written long ago and otherwise about to enter the
> >public domain.
> >
> > Last year, Congress once again retroactively extended copyright
> terms
> >through the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (CTEA). A
> book
> >published in 1923 under the old law would have come into the public
> domain
> >on January 1, 1999, but under the new statute the copyright prevents the
> >work from entering the public domain until January 1, 2019.
> >
> > "You get the feeling that works created on or after 1923 seem
> destined
> >never to enter the public domain; Congress arbitrarily extends the
> >copyright monopoly on them every twenty years, by another twenty years,
> >like clockwork," said Zittrain. "It's particularly troublesome when the
> >speed and access of the Internet promises a substantial audience for the
> >works that remain locked up."
> >
> > Fortunately, the Constitution offers clear guidance on the subject.
> In
> >enumerating Congress's powers in Article I, section 8, it clearly says
> that
> >Congress may "... promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by
> >securing for LIMITED TIMES to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right
> to
> >their respective Writings and Discoveries" (emphasis added).
> >
> > "The Constitution empowers Congress to propose a bargain whereby
> authors
> >have a limited time to benefit exclusively from their work, after which
> the
> >public may freely benefit from the intellectual property they create,"
> said
> >Nesson. "This allows for an economic incentive to publish while also
> >respecting the public's ultimate right to share and share alike with
> >speech. That's why the Constitution provides that Congress's judgment be
> >carefully scrutinized when it seems intent on making a copyright go on
> >indefinitely--or when it allows for the odd bargain of, retroactively,
> more
> >monopoly time for authors who are long dead, or have long since
> transferred
> >their rights in their work to someone else, having been fully willing to
> >work with the shorter copyright time limit at the time they wrote."
> >
> > Eric Eldred founded the Eldritch Press in late 1995 as a means of
> >demonstrating that computers could be used to present books on the
> Internet
> >in new ways, and in ways that improved upon the capabilities of print
> >books. Initially, the Eldritch Press began with works of American
> >literature, by authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes
> >(Sr.), and Henry James. Because some of the works Eldritch Press posts
> are
> >not included in library collections or are long out of print, they are
> not
> >obtainable by the public in any other way. The Eldritch Press now posts
> >new works the moment they enter the public domain.
> >
> > The Eldritch Press site receives as many as 4,000 visitors per day
> and has
> >been accessed from virtually all countries in the world. It has been
> >recognized as one of the 20 best humanities sites on the Web from
> >edSITEment (National Endowment for the Humanities).
> >
> > More information about the case, and an opportunity to join a
> coalition in
> >support of it, may be found at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/eldredvreno.
> >
> >
> > ###
> >
> >
> >Contact:
> >
> > Emily Lenzner
> > Berkman Center for Internet & Society
> > 617/495-7547
> > http://cyber.law.harvard.edu
> >
> >
> > Eric Eldred
> > The Eldritch Press
> > http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net
> >
> >
> >
> >Jon Zittrain
> >Harvard Law School
> >Executive Director, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
> >http://cyber.law.harvard.edu
> >Lecturer on Law
> >http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/is98
> >http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/msdoj
> >+ 1 617 495 4643
> >+ 1 617 495 7641 (fax)
> >
>
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