The Borderless Internet A Problem For International Copyright Issues
from the this-ought-to-be-fun dept
Earlier this year, some people noticed that many parts of Europe have 50 year copyrights rather than the quasi-permanent copyright now found in the US. What that means, is that come January, the first Elvis Presley song goes into the European public domain (unless, as some expect, a legal change is made). Now, here’s where it gets tricky. If Elvis’ songs are public domain in Europe, what’s to stop an American from getting on a European website and getting the song? To get an idea of what might happen, just look at what happened when the Australian affiliate of Project Gutenberg (the site the posts the text of books in the public domain) put the text of “Gone With The Wind” online. The book is still under American copyright, but has moved into the public domain in Australia. Despite that, they received a cease and desist letter. If that holds, then it would mean that the strictest interpretation of copyright law automatically applies to the rest of the world, which seems a little extreme.