Commons talk:Licensing/Rule of shorter term discussion

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Luck's Music Library et al. v. United States[edit]

  • plaintiffs allege that because of the URAA they may no longer freely distribute certain works in their portfolios. In their view, copyright laws that remove works from the public domain “do not provide significant incentives for new creations” because “rewarding prior works will not provide any significant incentive to create new works because it will not change the costs and benefits of doing so.”
  • Plaintiffs are [...] wrong that the Clause creates any categorical ban on Congress’s removing works from the public domain.
  • Plaintiffs completely fail to adduce any substantive distinction between the imbalance (if it be that) in tacking 20 years onto a copyright term about to expire in (say) a year, and extending protection to material that has fallen into the public domain. One can imagine that creation of copyright ex nihilo would entail special practical difficulties for parties that have relied on the apparent availability of works in the public domain only to find free access snatched away, but § 514 protects those who have relied without notice, see § 514(d)(2), 17 U.S.C. § 104A(d)(2), and plaintiffs don’t challenge these provisions’ adequacy.
  • Apart from the Act of 1790, plaintiffs insist that no federal statute has ever authorized removing work from the public domain. But the government and the district court point to other statutes that seemingly have done just that.
Irrelevant
There's nothing about the rule of the shorter term in this jugement. The point was limiter to whether or not the congress had the right to "resurrect" or "create" copyright on previously PD material. Michelet-密是力 16:56, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

William Patry's comments[edit]

  • The origins of GATT restoration are found in the decision by Congress in 1988, when passing the Berne implementing legislation, not to provide, as Article 18(1) of that Convention requires, protection for "all works which, at the moment of its coming into force, have not yet fallen into the public domain in the country of origin through the expiry of the term of protection." This refers, in our case, to retroactive protection solely to the works of other Berne members. Berne, after all, is a law for foreigners; Berne doesn't care how a country treats works of domestic origin.
  • The decision of Congress in 1988 not to amend our law to comply with Article 18(1) was made in the face of a requirement that when a country joins Berne, its laws must comport with the treaty's requirements. This makes sense: a country shouldn't be able to join a treaty, get the benefits that the treaty confers for your own authors, but not provide those benefits to the works of other countries' authors. This is, though, exactly what the U.S. did in 1988. Our only excuse for not protecting foreign works retroactively as Article 18(1) requires is that doing so posed "difficult issues." Well, so what?
  • honesty in treaty adherence is good policy, and retroactive protection for U.S. works overseas is of benefit to both U.S. copyright owners and to the system as a whole.
This rather confort my views
The USC should be interpreted in wiew of the corresponding Berne convention clause. The purpose of the USA should be to fulfill its international requirements. Michelet-密是力 17:07, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Irrelevant to our discussion
Once again, not a word about shorter term exception. Michelet-密是力 17:07, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Troll Co. v. Uneeda Doll Co.[edit]

  • This appeal, concerning so-called “restored” copyrights, requires the Court to construe for the first time section 104A of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 104A, which was enacted in its present form as part of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“URAA”), Pub. L. No. 103-465, 108 Stat. 4809 (1994).
  • the copyright was invalidated because some dolls had been sold in the United States without the proper copyright notice, and the dolls thereby entered the public domain. The Good Luck Troll is still protected by copyright in Denmark.
  • the URAA amended section 104A of the Copyright Act to bring the United States into compliance with the Berne Convention, which it had joined in 1989.
  • The parties do not dispute that the Good Luck Troll copyright was automatically restored pursuant to the URAA on January 1, 1996.
  • Uneeda argues that Troll Co. is unlikely to succeed because (1) Troll Co. has not established that it owns the restored copyright, and (2) Uneeda is a reliance party within the meaning of section 104A, entitling it to sell off its inventory of Wish-niks for one year following Troll Co.’s service of a notice of intent to enforce the restored copyright.
  • The URAA restored copyright protection for foreign works that had fallen into the public domain for technical reasons unrelated to expiration of the copyright term. Congress’s intention in restoring such protection to foreign copyrights was to secure similar protection for American copyright holders abroad.
  • The URAA restores copyrights as of January 1, 1996,9 for original works that (1) are not in the public domain of their source countries through expiration of their copyright terms, [...]
  • A copyright restored under section 104A “vests initially in the author [...] of the work as determined by the law of the source country of the work.” Id. § 104A(b).
  • The text of the statute is ambiguous and could support either interpretation. Given the statute’s ambiguity, it is appropriate to consider the legislative history.
  • The text of subsection 104A(h)(4)(B) is ambiguous on this point, and there is no legislative history clarifying Congress’s intent. However, it is an elemental principle of statutory construction that an ambiguous statute must be construed to avoid absurd results. [...] Uneeda’s proposed interpretation would render the statute absurdly broad.
Interesting point
The purpose was for the USA to comply to Berne convention. This is why I uphold that USC must be interpreted together with the corresponding Berne convention stipulations. Michelet-密是力 17:42, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
The "rule of shorter term" is implicitly confirmed"
"Congress’s intention in restoring such protection to foreign copyrights was to secure similar protection for American copyright holders abroad." Since the rule of shorter term is the general rule, congress had no special intention to implement it in USC. Michelet-密是力 17:42, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
The "rule of shorter term" is implicitly confirmed"
"The URAA restores copyrights [...] of their source countries through expiration of their copyright terms, [...]" ; "A copyright restored [...] vests [...] as determined by the law of the source country of the work." tends to mean that the source country copyright term should be considered. This is not conclusive, of course. Michelet-密是力 17:42, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
an ambiguous statute must be construed to avoid absurd results
In this case, it seems absurd that a "shorter term exception" be given only to works first published before 1978, with 95 protection years, and follow the general rule of "death + 70 years" after that. Michelet-密是力 17:42, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

William Patry's comments[edit]

  • The first question turned on a number of factors, principal of which was the choice of law provision in Section 104A(b): rather than determining ownership of restored copyrights by reference to U.S. copyright law, such rights are governed by the law of the country of origin. This means that courts will have to examine a diversity of sources, but it is the only appropriate way to deal with the issue: the copyrights that were restored were created by foreign law. In 1994, we considered a proposal to apply U.S. law, but rejected it out of hand.
Agreed
This generally confirms the "law of the country of origin" theory, not the "shorter term exception". But the term of protection once again has not been discussed. Michelet-密是力 18:01, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Understanding Copyright Law[edit]

... Can somebody provide relevant excerpts? Michelet-密是力 18:01, 3 May 2007 (UTC)