Lessig » eldred.cc http://www.lessig.org Blog, news, books Sat, 12 Nov 2016 16:31:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 On the continuing question of © and the First Amendment http://www.lessig.org/2008/01/on-the-continuing-question-of/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/01/on-the-continuing-question-of/#comments Mon, 07 Jan 2008 22:14:17 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/01/on_the_continuing_question_of.html Eldred v. Ashcroft, the Court was asked to subject a copyright statute to First Amendment analysis. The Court declined that request. Instead, the Court held that so long as copyright act does not change the "traditional contours of copyright protection," further First Amendment review is not required. That standard left open the question of what the "traditional contours of copyright protection" were. In three follow on cases, lower courts have now addressed the question. In all three of these lower court cases, the government has argued that by "traditional contours of copyright protection," the Eldred court meant simply the "idea/expression" dichotomy and "fair use." Thus, the only possible First Amendment challenge to a copyright statute, according to the government, is if the statute changes one of these two "traditional First Amendment safeguards," as the Court in Eldred referred to them. Plaintiffs in these three lower court cases have taken a broader view of the meaning of "traditional contours of copyright protection." Rather than limited to the two "First Amendment safeguards," plaintiffs have argued that "traditional contours" means, well, traditional contours. That if plaintiffs allege a change in the "traditional contours of copyright protection" implicating First Amendment interests, that change should be subject to First Amendment review. In two of these lower court opinions, one in the Ninth Circuit (Kahle v. Mukasey) and one in a district court in the DC Circuit (Luck's Music v. Ashcroft), the courts have agreed with the government. In one of these lower court opinions, (Golan v. Mukasey), the 10th Circuit agreed with the plaintiffs. This split was the focus of a cert petition (Petition, Reply, Supplemental Brief) to the Supreme Court in Kahle. The government responded (response) that there was no need for Supreme Court to review Kahle, because the "mistaken" decision by the 10th Circuit would be reversed when the Court of Appeals granted the government's motion to rehear the case en banc. On Friday, the 10th Circuit denied the government's motion. But on Friday, the Supreme Court accepted the government's recommendation not to recognize the split, by denying cert. Thus, though the reason the government offered for not granting cert turned out to be false, cert has not been granted. There's no chance the government will allow the 10th Circuit's decision to stand unreviewed. But while the 10th Circuit opinion is fantastically well done, it is unfortunate, in my view, that the Court did not take the opportunity to resolve the split in the context of Kahle. The issues in that case are clearer; they provide a better context within which to review the meaning of the Eldred rule -- indeed, they make the wisdom of the Eldred rule seem obvious. ]]> Some important news in the continuing struggle to reckon the First Amendment and copyright. For those not following this in depth, here’s the story so far:

In Eldred v. Ashcroft, the Court was asked to subject a copyright statute to First Amendment analysis. The Court declined that request. Instead, the Court held that so long as copyright act does not change the “traditional contours of copyright protection,” further First Amendment review is not required.

That standard left open the question of what the “traditional contours of copyright protection” were. In three follow on cases, lower courts have now addressed the question. In all three of these lower court cases, the government has argued that by “traditional contours of copyright protection,” the Eldred court meant simply the “idea/expression” dichotomy and “fair use.” Thus, the only possible First Amendment challenge to a copyright statute, according to the government, is if the statute changes one of these two “traditional First Amendment safeguards,” as the Court in Eldred referred to them.

Plaintiffs in these three lower court cases have taken a broader view of the meaning of “traditional contours of copyright protection.” Rather than limited to the two “First Amendment safeguards,” plaintiffs have argued that “traditional contours” means, well, traditional contours. That if plaintiffs allege a change in the “traditional contours of copyright protection” implicating First Amendment interests, that change should be subject to First Amendment review.

In two of these lower court opinions, one in the Ninth Circuit (Kahle v. Mukasey) and one in a district court in the DC Circuit (Luck’s Music v. Ashcroft), the courts have agreed with the government. In one of these lower court opinions, (Golan v. Mukasey), the 10th Circuit agreed with the plaintiffs.

This split was the focus of a cert petition (Petition, Reply, Supplemental Brief) to the Supreme Court in Kahle. The government responded (response) that there was no need for Supreme Court to review Kahle, because the “mistaken” decision by the 10th Circuit would be reversed when the Court of Appeals granted the government’s motion to rehear the case en banc.

On Friday, the 10th Circuit denied the government’s motion. But on Friday, the Supreme Court accepted the government’s recommendation not to recognize the split, by denying cert. Thus, though the reason the government offered for not granting cert turned out to be false, cert has not been granted.

There’s no chance the government will allow the 10th Circuit’s decision to stand unreviewed. But while the 10th Circuit opinion is fantastically well done, it is unfortunate, in my view, that the Court did not take the opportunity to resolve the split in the context of Kahle. The issues in that case are clearer; they provide a better context within which to review the meaning of the Eldred rule — indeed, they make the wisdom of the Eldred rule seem obvious.

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we now return you to your regularly scheduled program which is already in progress http://www.lessig.org/2003/10/we-now-return-you-to-your-regu/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/10/we-now-return-you-to-your-regu/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2003 13:12:47 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/10/we_now_return_you_to_your_regu.html 0.jpgWillem is a month old today. It has been an extraordinary month. I apologize for the absence, and am astonished by the kindness in the comments to my last post. Thank you. But it's time to restart this space. Judge Stanley Birch provides the perfect incentive. Howard Bashman has a wonderful interview with Judge Birch, in the course of which he offers "With all respect, Eldred was wrongly decided." Thank you, Judge. It's nice to be back.]]> 0.jpgWillem is a month old today. It has been an extraordinary month. I apologize for the absence, and am astonished by the kindness in the comments to my last post. Thank you.

But it’s time to restart this space.

Judge Stanley Birch provides the perfect incentive. Howard Bashman has a wonderful interview with Judge Birch, in the course of which he offers “With all respect, Eldred was wrongly decided.”

Thank you, Judge. It’s nice to be back.

]]>
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the day in DC http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/the-day-in-dc/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/the-day-in-dc/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2003 21:49:54 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/the_day_in_dc.html Public Knowledge had arranged the meetings, with members and their staff from both sides of Congress, and both sides of the isle. We met with the staffs of Senators Cantwell, McCain and Leahy, then met with Congressman Cannon and Boucher. And -- at her request -- we met with Congresswoman Bono. It was a strongly positive meeting with everyone, though of course Congresswoman Bono started most skeptically. By the end, however, she demonstrated a genuine openness to the issue, and a willingness to consider the proposal. It is of course very easy to demonize the otherside. But after listening to her talk about both this and the Sonny Bono Act, her motivations seemed quite genuinely to be about securing to artists continued reward from creativity. Not a bad motivation, all things considered, if we can balance it with protection of the public domain. Others began closer to where we were, and so we ended even closer to where we wanted them to be. Congressman Boucher agreed to join as a sponsor -- so at least three good souls in DC. The best part, of course, was Congresswoman Lofgren's press conference, announcing the bill that she and Congressman Doolittle will introduce, and explaining the reasons. She gets it, and she is powerful and right in her explanation. We owe her a great deal. Indeed, I had that thought about everyone we met today. This was a strange day of feeling Congress sometimes somehow might work. It's very early, and we have yet to weather the criticism and opposition. And of course, if money lines on this one, we will not prevail. But every, from Members to staff, took this as seriously as anyone could hope. Let's see what happens. One point was clear however: The work of the petition was extremely important. At least one Member indicated to me that he/she had been made aware of this issue by someone signing the petition. Another member indicated they had heard from people who had signed the petition. The more of this we can build, the more likely it is that we can build enough support to prevail. Stay tuned for the next stages. But thanks to Public Knowledge, and the 15k+, who have helped carry this idea one step closer to reality.]]> It was a great day in DC.

Public Knowledge had arranged the meetings, with members and their staff from both sides of Congress, and both sides of the isle. We met with the staffs of Senators Cantwell, McCain and Leahy, then met with Congressman Cannon and Boucher. And — at her request — we met with Congresswoman Bono.

It was a strongly positive meeting with everyone, though of course Congresswoman Bono started most skeptically. By the end, however, she demonstrated a genuine openness to the issue, and a willingness to consider the proposal. It is of course very easy to demonize the otherside. But after listening to her talk about both this and the Sonny Bono Act, her motivations seemed quite genuinely to be about securing to artists continued reward from creativity. Not a bad motivation, all things considered, if we can balance it with protection of the public domain.

Others began closer to where we were, and so we ended even closer to where we wanted them to be. Congressman Boucher agreed to join as a sponsor — so at least three good souls in DC.

The best part, of course, was Congresswoman Lofgren’s press conference, announcing the bill that she and Congressman Doolittle will introduce, and explaining the reasons. She gets it, and she is powerful and right in her explanation. We owe her a great deal.

Indeed, I had that thought about everyone we met today. This was a strange day of feeling Congress sometimes somehow might work. It’s very early, and we have yet to weather the criticism and opposition. And of course, if money lines on this one, we will not prevail. But every, from Members to staff, took this as seriously as anyone could hope. Let’s see what happens.

One point was clear however: The work of the petition was extremely important. At least one Member indicated to me that he/she had been made aware of this issue by someone signing the petition. Another member indicated they had heard from people who had signed the petition. The more of this we can build, the more likely it is that we can build enough support to prevail.

Stay tuned for the next stages. But thanks to Public Knowledge, and the 15k+, who have helped carry this idea one step closer to reality.

]]>
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the day in DC http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/the-day-in-dc-2/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/the-day-in-dc-2/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2003 21:49:54 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/the_day_in_dc.html Public Knowledge had arranged the meetings, with members and their staff from both sides of Congress, and both sides of the isle. We met with the staffs of Senators Cantwell, McCain and Leahy, then met with Congressman Cannon and Boucher. And -- at her request -- we met with Congresswoman Bono. It was a strongly positive meeting with everyone, though of course Congresswoman Bono started most skeptically. By the end, however, she demonstrated a genuine openness to the issue, and a willingness to consider the proposal. It is of course very easy to demonize the otherside. But after listening to her talk about both this and the Sonny Bono Act, her motivations seemed quite genuinely to be about securing to artists continued reward from creativity. Not a bad motivation, all things considered, if we can balance it with protection of the public domain. Others began closer to where we were, and so we ended even closer to where we wanted them to be. Congressman Boucher agreed to join as a sponsor -- so at least three good souls in DC. The best part, of course, was Congresswoman Lofgren's press conference, announcing the bill that she and Congressman Doolittle will introduce, and explaining the reasons. She gets it, and she is powerful and right in her explanation. We owe her a great deal. Indeed, I had that thought about everyone we met today. This was a strange day of feeling Congress sometimes somehow might work. It's very early, and we have yet to weather the criticism and opposition. And of course, if money lines on this one, we will not prevail. But every, from Members to staff, took this as seriously as anyone could hope. Let's see what happens. One point was clear however: The work of the petition was extremely important. At least one Member indicated to me that he/she had been made aware of this issue by someone signing the petition. Another member indicated they had heard from people who had signed the petition. The more of this we can build, the more likely it is that we can build enough support to prevail. Stay tuned for the next stages. But thanks to Public Knowledge, and the 15k+, who have helped carry this idea one step closer to reality.]]> It was a great day in DC.

Public Knowledge had arranged the meetings, with members and their staff from both sides of Congress, and both sides of the isle. We met with the staffs of Senators Cantwell, McCain and Leahy, then met with Congressman Cannon and Boucher. And — at her request — we met with Congresswoman Bono.

It was a strongly positive meeting with everyone, though of course Congresswoman Bono started most skeptically. By the end, however, she demonstrated a genuine openness to the issue, and a willingness to consider the proposal. It is of course very easy to demonize the otherside. But after listening to her talk about both this and the Sonny Bono Act, her motivations seemed quite genuinely to be about securing to artists continued reward from creativity. Not a bad motivation, all things considered, if we can balance it with protection of the public domain.

Others began closer to where we were, and so we ended even closer to where we wanted them to be. Congressman Boucher agreed to join as a sponsor — so at least three good souls in DC.

The best part, of course, was Congresswoman Lofgren’s press conference, announcing the bill that she and Congressman Doolittle will introduce, and explaining the reasons. She gets it, and she is powerful and right in her explanation. We owe her a great deal.

Indeed, I had that thought about everyone we met today. This was a strange day of feeling Congress sometimes somehow might work. It’s very early, and we have yet to weather the criticism and opposition. And of course, if money lines on this one, we will not prevail. But every, from Members to staff, took this as seriously as anyone could hope. Let’s see what happens.

One point was clear however: The work of the petition was extremely important. At least one Member indicated to me that he/she had been made aware of this issue by someone signing the petition. Another member indicated they had heard from people who had signed the petition. The more of this we can build, the more likely it is that we can build enough support to prevail.

Stay tuned for the next stages. But thanks to Public Knowledge, and the 15k+, who have helped carry this idea one step closer to reality.

]]>
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very good news http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/very-good-news/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/very-good-news/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2003 02:03:18 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/very_good_news.html Public Domain Enhancement Act. We've got CD's of all 15k+ of the signatures on our Reclaim the Public Domain petition to hand out. It was going to be a fun day (as fun as any DC day gets) in DC. But we've now learned that Congresswoman Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Doolittle (R-CA) have agreed to introduce the bill into Congress. We're having an event at 1pm tomorrow at the Capitol to announce this first step on a long road to Reclaiming the Public Domain. Count this as great news, and spread the word: there are two great souls on Capitol Hill. I'll see if I can find some more.]]> I have just arrived in DC, where I was planning on meeting with staffers on the Hill tomorrow to drum up support for the Public Domain Enhancement Act. We’ve got CD’s of all 15k+ of the signatures on our Reclaim the Public Domain petition to hand out. It was going to be a fun day (as fun as any DC day gets) in DC.

But we’ve now learned that Congresswoman Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Doolittle (R-CA) have agreed to introduce the bill into Congress. We’re having an event at 1pm tomorrow at the Capitol to announce this first step on a long road to Reclaiming the Public Domain.

Count this as great news, and spread the word: there are two great souls on Capitol Hill. I’ll see if I can find some more.

]]>
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very good news http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/very-good-news-2/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/very-good-news-2/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2003 02:03:18 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/very_good_news.html Public Domain Enhancement Act. We've got CD's of all 15k+ of the signatures on our Reclaim the Public Domain petition to hand out. It was going to be a fun day (as fun as any DC day gets) in DC. But we've now learned that Congresswoman Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Doolittle (R-CA) have agreed to introduce the bill into Congress. We're having an event at 1pm tomorrow at the Capitol to announce this first step on a long road to Reclaiming the Public Domain. Count this as great news, and spread the word: there are two great souls on Capitol Hill. I'll see if I can find some more.]]> I have just arrived in DC, where I was planning on meeting with staffers on the Hill tomorrow to drum up support for the Public Domain Enhancement Act. We’ve got CD’s of all 15k+ of the signatures on our Reclaim the Public Domain petition to hand out. It was going to be a fun day (as fun as any DC day gets) in DC.

But we’ve now learned that Congresswoman Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Doolittle (R-CA) have agreed to introduce the bill into Congress. We’re having an event at 1pm tomorrow at the Capitol to announce this first step on a long road to Reclaiming the Public Domain.

Count this as great news, and spread the word: there are two great souls on Capitol Hill. I’ll see if I can find some more.

]]>
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a gift from the public domain http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/a-gift-from-the-public-domain/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/a-gift-from-the-public-domain/#comments Sun, 22 Jun 2003 19:23:22 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/a_gift_from_the_public_domain.html Editions Poole. Editions Poole publishes piano ensemble "repertoire, specializing in transcriptions and eight hand piano music." As a 4th of July gift, Poole is giving away a free arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner composed by John Stafford Smith and arranged by Leopold Godowsky. In return, he is asking people to help free more music by signing the petition to Reclaim the Public Domain. See his offer posted to rec.music.classical here. Thanks, John!]]> John Laurence Poole runs Editions Poole. Editions Poole publishes piano ensemble “repertoire, specializing in transcriptions and eight hand piano music.” As a 4th of July gift, Poole is giving away a free arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner composed by John Stafford Smith and arranged by Leopold Godowsky. In return, he is asking people to help free more music by signing the petition to Reclaim the Public Domain. See his offer posted to rec.music.classical here.

Thanks, John!

]]>
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a gift from the public domain http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/a-gift-from-the-public-domain-2/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/a-gift-from-the-public-domain-2/#comments Sun, 22 Jun 2003 19:23:22 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/a_gift_from_the_public_domain.html Editions Poole. Editions Poole publishes piano ensemble "repertoire, specializing in transcriptions and eight hand piano music." As a 4th of July gift, Poole is giving away a free arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner composed by John Stafford Smith and arranged by Leopold Godowsky. In return, he is asking people to help free more music by signing the petition to Reclaim the Public Domain. See his offer posted to rec.music.classical here. Thanks, John!]]> John Laurence Poole runs Editions Poole. Editions Poole publishes piano ensemble “repertoire, specializing in transcriptions and eight hand piano music.” As a 4th of July gift, Poole is giving away a free arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner composed by John Stafford Smith and arranged by Leopold Godowsky. In return, he is asking people to help free more music by signing the petition to Reclaim the Public Domain. See his offer posted to rec.music.classical here.

Thanks, John!

]]>
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firstmonday on eldred http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/firstmonday-on-eldred/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/firstmonday-on-eldred/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2003 13:58:40 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/firstmonday_on_eldred.html piece about Eldred v. Ashcroft. He has some good criticism of the Eldred Act. Or at least, in the best of all possible worlds it would be good criticism. He says we need more radical reform. He worries about the burden on creators. True, the registration system was broken -- because a government agency ran it. That needs to be fixed if any rebirth of registration is to do any good. But the point about the need for something more radical bothers me. Sure, absolutely, we need something more. But how are we going to get there? There is no substantial push by ordinary people for the public domain. (Of course, there are 13,000 extraordinary people who get this, but only when you multiply them by 1,000 will we have a movement.) Why don't ordinary people get it? Because few understand why the public domain is valuable. Why don't more see why the public domain is valuable? Because today the public domain is over 75 years old. It is ancient history for us, irrelevant to much of ordinary culture. If the public domain were as young as it was for most of our history (30 years old, max), then losing it would mean something to most people. If the work of the 1960s and 1970s could easily be built upon, then taking that work away would excite a revolution. But the (brilliant) strategy of the copyright extremists has been to slowly remove the public domain, by slowing extending copyright. (Remember Hal in 2001, as Dave turns off his brain?) They have succeeded in making it irrelevant to most. The question now is how to make it relevant again. In my view, reclaiming it would make it relevant. Exploding the content within the public domain in a context where it can be built upon and spread (ie, now, with the internet) will make people see again why the public domain is important. And if they see that, then they will again defend it. It is this first step that the Eldred Act would achieve. The revival of a registration requirement would move content into a public domain quickly. (You can see the point with this Cabinet Magazine graphic.) And only then might we expect a public to demand more. There are many who have written brilliantly about what is right in this context. Rimmer's piece is an addition to that. But the hard problem is how to make the right real. That is what this movement needs now.]]> Matthew Rimmer has a careful and insightful piece about Eldred v. Ashcroft. He has some good criticism of the Eldred Act.

Or at least, in the best of all possible worlds it would be good criticism. He says we need more radical reform. He worries about the burden on creators. True, the registration system was broken — because a government agency ran it. That needs to be fixed if any rebirth of registration is to do any good.

But the point about the need for something more radical bothers me. Sure, absolutely, we need something more. But how are we going to get there? There is no substantial push by ordinary people for the public domain. (Of course, there are 13,000 extraordinary people who get this, but only when you multiply them by 1,000 will we have a movement.)

Why don’t ordinary people get it? Because few understand why the public domain is valuable. Why don’t more see why the public domain is valuable? Because today the public domain is over 75 years old. It is ancient history for us, irrelevant to much of ordinary culture.

If the public domain were as young as it was for most of our history (30 years old, max), then losing it would mean something to most people. If the work of the 1960s and 1970s could easily be built upon, then taking that work away would excite a revolution. But the (brilliant) strategy of the copyright extremists has been to slowly remove the public domain, by slowing extending copyright. (Remember Hal in 2001, as Dave turns off his brain?) They have succeeded in making it irrelevant to most. The question now is how to make it relevant again.

In my view, reclaiming it would make it relevant. Exploding the content within the public domain in a context where it can be built upon and spread (ie, now, with the internet) will make people see again why the public domain is important. And if they see that, then they will again defend it.

It is this first step that the Eldred Act would achieve. The revival of a registration requirement would move content into a public domain quickly. (You can see the point with this Cabinet Magazine graphic.) And only then might we expect a public to demand more.

There are many who have written brilliantly about what is right in this context. Rimmer’s piece is an addition to that. But the hard problem is how to make the right real. That is what this movement needs now.

]]>
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cutting libraries while killing the commons http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/cutting-libraries-while-killin/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/cutting-libraries-while-killin/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2003 15:32:43 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/cutting_libraries_while_killin.html Commons-blog has a nice link to a story about Milwaukee libraries being defunded. Yet at the same time, extensions of copyright terms simply increase the cost of getting access to content. If every librarian signed our Reclaim the Public Domain Petition, then perhaps we could rebuild a public domain that could make the costs of libraries fall.]]> Commons-blog has a nice link to a story about Milwaukee libraries being defunded. Yet at the same time, extensions of copyright terms simply increase the cost of getting access to content. If every librarian signed our Reclaim the Public Domain Petition, then perhaps we could rebuild a public domain that could make the costs of libraries fall.

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a picture of the public domain http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/a-picture-of-the-public-domain/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/a-picture-of-the-public-domain/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2003 12:39:09 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/a_picture_of_the_public_domain.html Cabinet Magazine has a great graf that shows the stagnation of the public domain, as well as an interactive version showing the same. If the numbers are right, then this battle to restore (in effect) a renewal requirement is the most important battle to reclaim the public domain that we could wage.]]> Cabinet Magazine has a great graf that shows the stagnation of the public domain, as well as an interactive version showing the same. If the numbers are right, then this battle to restore (in effect) a renewal requirement is the most important battle to reclaim the public domain that we could wage.

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directors and actors for the public domain http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/directors-and-actors-for-the-p/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/directors-and-actors-for-the-p/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2003 22:03:35 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/directors_and_actors_for_the_p.html posted another letter written to members of Congress from directors and actors about the threat that endless copyright terms creates for our culture. As the letter argues, most of the film from the 1920s and 1930s is not commercially exploited, which means most of the film from the 1920s and 1930s sits unpreserved and rotting away. But because of copyright regulations, it is effectively impossible to restore this film until the copyright expires. And when weill that be exactly? Meanwhile, we're approaching 12,000 signatures, which is great great news. Please help spread the news.]]> We have posted another letter written to members of Congress from directors and actors about the threat that endless copyright terms creates for our culture. As the letter argues, most of the film from the 1920s and 1930s is not commercially exploited, which means most of the film from the 1920s and 1930s sits unpreserved and rotting away. But because of copyright regulations, it is effectively impossible to restore this film until the copyright expires. And when weill that be exactly?

Meanwhile, we’re approaching 12,000 signatures, which is great great news. Please help spread the news.

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insanely cool — 10,000 http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/insanely-cool-10000/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/insanely-cool-10000/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2003 17:06:48 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/insanely_cool_10000.html So we’ve hit 10,000. This is extraordinarily great news. Thank you to everyone.

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approaching 10,000 http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/approaching-10000/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/approaching-10000/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2003 14:00:20 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/approaching_10000.html petition. That is our goal for this week -- so please use the excuse of the weekend to pester your friends. There are more announcements next week, but please do what you can to help now.]]> We are approaching 10,000 on our petition. That is our goal for this week — so please use the excuse of the weekend to pester your friends. There are more announcements next week, but please do what you can to help now.

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above 7,500 signatures http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/above-7500-signatures/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/above-7500-signatures/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2003 17:32:59 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/above_7500_signatures.html Reclaim the Public Domain petition.]]> for the Reclaim the Public Domain petition.

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promoting progress http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/promoting-progress/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/promoting-progress/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2003 13:10:58 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/promoting_progress.html petition in a single day. That is extraordinary progress. Yet there are many who are frustrated that this doesn't go far enough. Many on Slashdot, for example, demand that we "hold out" for something much more radical. That this would be a "compromise" and that we should never "compromise." We should never compromise. But we must take first steps. We are where we are because most people don't believe in the public domain. Most people don't even understand it. We live in a time when the public domain is more than 75 years old. Yet for most of our history, the public domain was no more than 30 years old. If ordinary people could see the creativity that would be inspired if the 1960s were in the public domain, they would understand again the importance of limiting the regulation that copyright law has become. They will only understand it if we build it. They will only get it when they see the creativity it would inspire, and the knowledge it will spread. We need to show them why the public domain is important, by building it again. The Public Domain Enhancement Act would do this. And when not 5,000, but 50,000 people join together to say that it should be our first step, Congress will take it up. Then the burden will be on the otherside to explain why this obvious change should not occur. But if you think our petition is too tame � if you think it accepts too much of current law, and would be read to endorse the status quo � then sign this alternative. It makes clear that the current system is broken; it demands radical reforms. But as any reform we achieve can apply to future copyrights only, we still have to deal with the current law, and the control it imposes. It therefore also endorses this first step. Let's see which view of copyright law better reflects this democracy. Let's see just how radical the democracy has become. But on either view, we should take first steps now. We should build support around obvious reforms. And we should force them to resist what seems sensible to everyone else. The only thing that we should not do is sit back and do nothing, "holding out" for "radical reform" that will never come on its own. If you want "radical reform," than produce 500,000 signatures on this Reclaim Copyright Law petition. If you want a first step of reform, then help us get 50,000 signatures to Reclaim the Public Domain. But either way, do something. Now.]]> We have gathered over 6,000 signatures on our petition in a single day. That is extraordinary progress.

Yet there are many who are frustrated that this doesn’t go far enough. Many on Slashdot, for example, demand that we “hold out” for something much more radical. That this would be a “compromise” and that we should never “compromise.”

We should never compromise. But we must take first steps. We are where we are because most people don’t believe in the public domain. Most people don’t even understand it. We live in a time when the public domain is more than 75 years old. Yet for most of our history, the public domain was no more than 30 years old. If ordinary people could see the creativity that would be inspired if the 1960s were in the public domain, they would understand again the importance of limiting the regulation that copyright law has become.

They will only understand it if we build it. They will only get it when they see the creativity it would inspire, and the knowledge it will spread. We need to show them why the public domain is important, by building it again.

The Public Domain Enhancement Act would do this. And when not 5,000, but 50,000 people join together to say that it should be our first step, Congress will take it up. Then the burden will be on the otherside to explain why this obvious change should not occur.

But if you think our petition is too tame � if you think it accepts too much of current law, and would be read to endorse the status quo � then sign this alternative. It makes clear that the current system is broken; it demands radical reforms. But as any reform we achieve can apply to future copyrights only, we still have to deal with the current law, and the control it imposes. It therefore also endorses this first step.

Let’s see which view of copyright law better reflects this democracy. Let’s see just how radical the democracy has become. But on either view, we should take first steps now. We should build support around obvious reforms. And we should force them to resist what seems sensible to everyone else.

The only thing that we should not do is sit back and do nothing, “holding out” for “radical reform” that will never come on its own.

If you want “radical reform,” than produce 500,000 signatures on this Reclaim Copyright Law petition. If you want a first step of reform, then help us get 50,000 signatures to Reclaim the Public Domain.

But either way, do something. Now.

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2,000 by the end of lunch! http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/2000-by-the-end-of-lunch/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/2000-by-the-end-of-lunch/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2003 18:06:39 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/2000_by_the_end_of_lunch.html petition. Update: over 3,500. Aaron's got a great graph of the growth.]]> Our count has doubled in the last hour. We’re now up to over 2,000 signing our petition.

Update: over 3,500. Aaron’s got a great graph of the growth.

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1,000 signatures before lunch! http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/1000-signatures-before-lunch/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/1000-signatures-before-lunch/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2003 16:37:43 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/1000_signatures_before_lunch.html petition in just a couple hours! One-hundred times this and we will have something powerful to show. Thanks to all who have helped � and especially those who have translated this argument into terms more people can understand. The net builds power the way Google ranks content -- one link tied to another.]]> Over 1,000 people have signed our petition in just a couple hours! One-hundred times this and we will have something powerful to show. Thanks to all who have helped � and especially those who have translated this argument into terms more people can understand. The net builds power the way Google ranks content — one link tied to another.

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Dastar: Boyle’s brilliance http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/dastar-boyles-brilliance/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/06/dastar-boyles-brilliance/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2003 15:33:40 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/06/dastar_boyles_brilliance.html Dastar, keep in mind this brilliant observation by Duke Law Professor James Boyle:
So we now know that while the word "origin" in an IP statute must be carefully defined in order to prevent rights-creep that would undermine the careful limitiations struck in a statutory scheme, the words "promote," "progress," "limited" and even "author" can be defined any way Congress wanted to even if that upsets the careful balance struck in a constitutional clause, because they are only words in the Constitution, and thus much less fundamental. Got it.
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So if you get a chance to read the Supreme Court’s opinion in Dastar, keep in mind this brilliant observation by Duke Law Professor James Boyle:

So we now know that while the word “origin” in an IP statute must be carefully defined in order to prevent rights-creep that would undermine the careful limitiations struck in a statutory scheme, the words “promote,” “progress,” “limited” and even “author” can be defined any way Congress wanted to even if that upsets the careful balance struck in a constitutional clause, because they are only words in the Constitution, and thus much less fundamental.
Got it.

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(e) William Gibson on Singapore http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/e-william-gibson-on-singapore/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/e-william-gibson-on-singapore/#comments Thu, 22 May 2003 15:58:20 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/05/e_william_gibson_on_singapore.html this criticism of them, remember, it applies doubly to us.]]> Re: the agreement to extend copyright terms:

But when you read this criticism of them, remember, it applies doubly to us.

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(e) Why not, Tim? http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/e-why-not-tim/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/e-why-not-tim/#comments Thu, 22 May 2003 15:53:11 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/05/e_why_not_tim.html comment to my post yesterday, "�Monitor the issue ?� Why doesn�t the representative introduce the bill, if it has not already been introduced ?" Why Timothy? Because as one person who had spoken to someone on the hill wrote me, "no congressperson yet sees ANY possible benefit to them from introducing this bill, and they all see SIGNIFICANT political costs. This is like taking on the NRA, but these people have more than one movie star on their side."]]> Timothy Phillips, one of the most active people pushing to reclaim the public domain, writes in a comment to my post yesterday,

“�Monitor the issue ?� Why doesn�t the representative introduce the bill, if it has not already been introduced ?”

Why Timothy? Because as one person who had spoken to someone on the hill wrote me, “no congressperson yet sees ANY possible benefit to them from introducing this bill, and they all see SIGNIFICANT political costs. This is like taking on the NRA, but these people have more than one movie star on their side.”

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(e)xcellent letter http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/excellent-letter/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/excellent-letter/#comments Thu, 22 May 2003 15:45:26 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/05/excellent_letter.html Derek Slater has put together an excellent letter that you can use to ping your Congresscritter. A much improved version of the 4 page "two pager" that I posted. Use it and ping your congressperson here.]]> Derek Slater has put together an excellent letter that you can use to ping your Congresscritter. A much improved version of the 4 page “two pager” that I posted. Use it and ping your congressperson here.

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(E) Act: Locating Congress-critters http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/e-act-locating-congresscritter/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/e-act-locating-congresscritter/#comments Wed, 21 May 2003 19:37:26 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/05/e_act_locating_congresscritter.html link to locate Congress-critters who you can write to about the Eldred Act. And here's a description of the proposal and its purposes.]]> Here’s a better link to locate Congress-critters who you can write to about the Eldred Act. And here’s a description of the proposal and its purposes.

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Words back from Congress http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/words-back-from-congress/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/words-back-from-congress/#comments Wed, 21 May 2003 18:46:56 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/05/words_back_from_congress.html Eldred Act. I'll be reporting on this feedback over time. Christopher Kantarjiev sent a letter to Congresswoman Eshoo (CA, Democrat) who represents Stanford. Here's her reply: > Thank you for your e-mail about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to > uphold the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension > Act (CTEA), which adds 20 years to the terms of existing and future > copyrights. > > The case of Eldred v. Ashcroft challenged the constitutionality of CTEA, > charging that CTEA fails constitutional review under both the Copyright > Clause's "limited times" prescription and the First Amendment's free > speech guarantee. The framers of the Constitution wanted to promote > science and arts by allowing Congress to grant exclusive rights to > creations "for limited times." Congress has extended this period > gradually over time and the Court held that Congress acted within its > authority and did not transgress Constitutional limitations when it passed > CTEA. > > While I appreciate the importance of the public domain and I remain > dedicated to preserving such fundamental rights as freedom of speech and > freedom of the press, I do believe that Congress must also act to ensure > the international protection of copyrighted works. We must balance the > tensions between these two sets of interests carefully. > > As you mentioned in your email, one possible compromise is the Eric Eldred > Act, which takes a common sense approach to move unused copyrighted work > with no continuing commercial value into the public domain. The Eric > Eldred Act has not yet been introduced in the Congress, but I shall > continue to monitor this issue, keeping your important thoughts in mind. > > > If you have any other questions or comments, let me hear from you. I > always appreciate hearing from my constituents and ask that you continue > to inform me on issues you care about. I need your thoughts and benefit > from your ideas. > > > Sincerely, > > Anna G. Eshoo > Member of Congress "common sense" -- I count that as good news. Keep those letter going...]]> So I’ve gotten tons of mail from people who have taken up the challenge to spread the idea of the Eldred Act. I’ll be reporting on this feedback over time. Christopher Kantarjiev sent a letter to Congresswoman Eshoo (CA, Democrat) who represents Stanford. Here’s her reply:

> Thank you for your e-mail about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to
> uphold the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension
> Act (CTEA), which adds 20 years to the terms of existing and future
> copyrights.
>
> The case of Eldred v. Ashcroft challenged the constitutionality of CTEA,
> charging that CTEA fails constitutional review under both the Copyright
> Clause’s “limited times” prescription and the First Amendment’s free
> speech guarantee. The framers of the Constitution wanted to promote
> science and arts by allowing Congress to grant exclusive rights to
> creations “for limited times.” Congress has extended this period
> gradually over time and the Court held that Congress acted within its
> authority and did not transgress Constitutional limitations when it passed
> CTEA.
>
> While I appreciate the importance of the public domain and I remain
> dedicated to preserving such fundamental rights as freedom of speech and
> freedom of the press, I do believe that Congress must also act to ensure
> the international protection of copyrighted works. We must balance the
> tensions between these two sets of interests carefully.
>
> As you mentioned in your email, one possible compromise is the Eric Eldred
> Act, which takes a common sense approach to move unused copyrighted work
> with no continuing commercial value into the public domain. The Eric
> Eldred Act has not yet been introduced in the Congress, but I shall
> continue to monitor this issue, keeping your important thoughts in mind.
>
>
> If you have any other questions or comments, let me hear from you. I
> always appreciate hearing from my constituents and ask that you continue
> to inform me on issues you care about. I need your thoughts and benefit
> from your ideas.
>
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Anna G. Eshoo
> Member of Congress

“common sense” — I count that as good news. Keep those letter going…

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we need your help http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/we-need-your-help/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/05/we-need-your-help/#comments Fri, 16 May 2003 17:09:37 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/05/we_need_your_help.html digitization project to digitize books. They have technology that can scan 1,000 pages an hour. They are chafing for the opportunity to scan books that are no longer commercially available, but that under current law remain under copyright. If this proposal passed, 98% of books just 50 years old could be scanned and posted for free on the Internet. Stanford is not alone. This has long been a passion of Brewster Kahle and his Internet Archive, as well as many others. Yet because of current copyright regulation, these projects -- that would lower the cost of libraries dramatically, and spread knowledge broadly -- cannot go forward. The costs of clearing the rights to makes these works available is extraordinarily high. Yet the lobbyists are fighting even this tiny compromise. The public domain is competition for them. They will fight this competition. And so long as they have the lobbyists, and the rest of the world remains silent, they will win. We need to your help to resist this now. At this stage, all that we need is one congressperson to introduce the proposal. Whether you call it the Copyright Term Deregulation Act, or the Public Domain Enhancement Act, doesn't matter. What matters is finding a sponsor, so we can begin to show the world just how extreme this debate has become: They have already gotten a 20 year extension of all copyrights just so 2% can benefit; and now they object to paying just $1 for that benefit, so that no one else might compete with them. If you believe this is wrong, here are two things you can do: (1) Write your Representative and Senator, and ask them to be the first to introduce this statute; point them to the website http://eldred.cc, and ask them to respond. And even more importantly, (2) blog this request, so that others who think about these issues can get involved in the conversation. I have given this movement as much as I can over the past four years, and I will not stop until we have reclaimed the public domain. Stay tuned for more litigation, and more ideas from Creative Commons. But please take these two steps now.]]> About a month ago, I started sounding optimistic about getting a bill introduced into Congress to help right the wrong of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. I was optimistic because we had found a congressperson who was willing to introduce the bill. But after pressure from lobbyists, that is no longer clear. And so we need help to counter that pressure, and to find a sponsor.

The idea is a simple one: Fifty years after a work has been published, the copyright owner must pay a $1 maintanence fee. If the copyright owner pays the fee, then the copyright continues. If the owner fails to pay the fee, the work passes into the public domain. Based on historical precedent, we expect 98% of copyrighted works would pass into the public domain after just 50 years. They could keep Mickey for as long as Congress lets them. But we would get a public domain.

The need for even this tiny compromise is becoming clearer each day. Stanford’s library, for example, has announced a digitization project to digitize books. They have technology that can scan 1,000 pages an hour. They are chafing for the opportunity to scan books that are no longer commercially available, but that under current law remain under copyright. If this proposal passed, 98% of books just 50 years old could be scanned and posted for free on the Internet.

Stanford is not alone. This has long been a passion of Brewster Kahle and his Internet Archive, as well as many others. Yet because of current copyright regulation, these projects — that would lower the cost of libraries dramatically, and spread knowledge broadly — cannot go forward. The costs of clearing the rights to makes these works available is extraordinarily high.

Yet the lobbyists are fighting even this tiny compromise. The public domain is competition for them. They will fight this competition. And so long as they have the lobbyists, and the rest of the world remains silent, they will win.

We need to your help to resist this now. At this stage, all that we need is one congressperson to introduce the proposal. Whether you call it the Copyright Term Deregulation Act, or the Public Domain Enhancement Act, doesn’t matter. What matters is finding a sponsor, so we can begin to show the world just how extreme this debate has become: They have already gotten a 20 year extension of all copyrights just so 2% can benefit; and now they object to paying just $1 for that benefit, so that no one else might compete with them.

If you believe this is wrong, here are two things you can do: (1) Write your Representative and Senator, and ask them to be the first to introduce this statute; point them to the website http://eldred.cc, and ask them to respond. And even more importantly, (2) blog this request, so that others who think about these issues can get involved in the conversation.

I have given this movement as much as I can over the past four years, and I will not stop until we have reclaimed the public domain. Stay tuned for more litigation, and more ideas from Creative Commons. But please take these two steps now.

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