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.

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Comments on “The Borderless Internet A Problem For International Copyright Issues”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Tragety of the Commons

Well, looks like that little paradigm bites both ways; so while RIAA/et. al. are busy trying to use the tragety of the commons rule to foce file sharing off-line, it becomes obvious the countries like Iran and North Korea (who do not acknowledge US copyright law) could easily counter act their efforts.

George Morris (user link) says:

re: Lowest Common Denominator

Russian copyright law doesn’t protect any works older than 1972 (or is that 1973?). That’s why the website is generating controversy; they argue that since the company is based in Russia, Russian law applies (whereing the Beatles portfolio, and other big moneymakers for US studios are all public domain).

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