Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

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Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Geoff Brigham
Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus
("friends of the court") brief in Golan v. Holder, a case of great
importance before the Supreme Court that will affect our understanding of
the public domain for years to come.  See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_v._Holder.  The EFF is representing the
Wikimedia Foundation in addition to the American Association of Libraries,
the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of
Research Libraries, the University of Michigan Dean of Libraries, and the
Internet Archive.

This case raises critical issues as to whether Congress may withdraw works
from the public domain and throw them back under a copyright regime.  In
1994, in response to the U.S. joining of the Berne Convention, Congress
granted copyright protection to a large body of foreign works that the
Copyright Act had previously placed in the public domain.  Affected cultural
goods probably number in the millions, including, for example, Metropolis
(1927), The Third Man (1949), Prokofiev's Peter in the Wolf, music by
Stravinsky, paintings by Picasso, drawings by M.C. Escher, films by Fellini,
Hitchcock, and Renoir, and writings by George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and
J.R.R. Tolkien.

The petitioners are orchestra conductors, educators, performers, film
archivists, and motion picture distributors who depend upon the public
domain for their livelihood.  They filed suit in 2001, pointing out that
Congress exceeded its power under the Copyright Clause and the First
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  They eventually won at the district
court level, but that decision was overturned on appeal in the Tenth
Circuit.   The U.S. Supreme Court - which rarely grants review - did so
here.

Petitioners filed their brief last week, and you can find it here:
http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/6684.  We are expecting a number of
parties to file "friends of the court" briefs.   The EFF's brief can be
found here:  http://www.eff.org/cases/golan-v-holder .

The Wikimedia Foundation joined the EFF brief in light of the tremendously
important role that the public domain plays in our mission to "collect and
develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain,
and to disseminate it effectively and globally."  We host millions of works
in the public domain and are dependent on thousands of volunteers to search
out and archive these works.  Wikimedia Commons alone boasts approximately 3
million items in these cultural commons.  To put it bluntly, Congress cannot
be permitted the power to remove such works from the public domain whenever
it finds it suitable to do so.  It is not right - legally or morally.   The
Copyright Clause expressly requires limits on copyright terms.  The First
Amendment disallows theft from the creative commons.  Such works belong to
our global knowledge.  For this reason, we join with the EFF and many others
to encourage the Court to overturn a law that so threatens our public domain
- not only with respect to the particular works at issue but also with
respect to the bad precedent such a law would set for the future.

We anticipate the Court will reach a decision sometime before July 2012.


--
Geoff Brigham
General Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

George William Herbert
I would like to personally thank the WMF staff and board for having
pursued this.

Good luck.


On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 11:40 AM, Geoff Brigham <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus
> ("friends of the court") brief in Golan v. Holder, a case of great
> importance before the Supreme Court that will affect our understanding of
> the public domain for years to come.  See
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_v._Holder.  The EFF is representing the
> Wikimedia Foundation in addition to the American Association of Libraries,
> the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of
> Research Libraries, the University of Michigan Dean of Libraries, and the
> Internet Archive.
>
> This case raises critical issues as to whether Congress may withdraw works
> from the public domain and throw them back under a copyright regime.  In
> 1994, in response to the U.S. joining of the Berne Convention, Congress
> granted copyright protection to a large body of foreign works that the
> Copyright Act had previously placed in the public domain.  Affected cultural
> goods probably number in the millions, including, for example, Metropolis
> (1927), The Third Man (1949), Prokofiev's Peter in the Wolf, music by
> Stravinsky, paintings by Picasso, drawings by M.C. Escher, films by Fellini,
> Hitchcock, and Renoir, and writings by George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and
> J.R.R. Tolkien.
>
> The petitioners are orchestra conductors, educators, performers, film
> archivists, and motion picture distributors who depend upon the public
> domain for their livelihood.  They filed suit in 2001, pointing out that
> Congress exceeded its power under the Copyright Clause and the First
> Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  They eventually won at the district
> court level, but that decision was overturned on appeal in the Tenth
> Circuit.   The U.S. Supreme Court - which rarely grants review - did so
> here.
>
> Petitioners filed their brief last week, and you can find it here:
> http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/6684.  We are expecting a number of
> parties to file "friends of the court" briefs.   The EFF's brief can be
> found here:  http://www.eff.org/cases/golan-v-holder .
>
> The Wikimedia Foundation joined the EFF brief in light of the tremendously
> important role that the public domain plays in our mission to "collect and
> develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain,
> and to disseminate it effectively and globally."  We host millions of works
> in the public domain and are dependent on thousands of volunteers to search
> out and archive these works.  Wikimedia Commons alone boasts approximately 3
> million items in these cultural commons.  To put it bluntly, Congress cannot
> be permitted the power to remove such works from the public domain whenever
> it finds it suitable to do so.  It is not right - legally or morally.   The
> Copyright Clause expressly requires limits on copyright terms.  The First
> Amendment disallows theft from the creative commons.  Such works belong to
> our global knowledge.  For this reason, we join with the EFF and many others
> to encourage the Court to overturn a law that so threatens our public domain
> - not only with respect to the particular works at issue but also with
> respect to the bad precedent such a law would set for the future.
>
> We anticipate the Court will reach a decision sometime before July 2012.
>
>
> --
> Geoff Brigham
> General Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



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-george william herbert
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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Ting Chen-2
In reply to this post by Geoff Brigham
Hello Geoff,

great work you are doing here.

Greetings
Ting

On 22.06.2011 20:40, wrote Geoff Brigham:

> Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus
> ("friends of the court") brief in Golan v. Holder, a case of great
> importance before the Supreme Court that will affect our understanding of
> the public domain for years to come.  See
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_v._Holder.  The EFF is representing the
> Wikimedia Foundation in addition to the American Association of Libraries,
> the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of
> Research Libraries, the University of Michigan Dean of Libraries, and the
> Internet Archive.
>
> This case raises critical issues as to whether Congress may withdraw works
> from the public domain and throw them back under a copyright regime.  In
> 1994, in response to the U.S. joining of the Berne Convention, Congress
> granted copyright protection to a large body of foreign works that the
> Copyright Act had previously placed in the public domain.  Affected cultural
> goods probably number in the millions, including, for example, Metropolis
> (1927), The Third Man (1949), Prokofiev's Peter in the Wolf, music by
> Stravinsky, paintings by Picasso, drawings by M.C. Escher, films by Fellini,
> Hitchcock, and Renoir, and writings by George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and
> J.R.R. Tolkien.
>
> The petitioners are orchestra conductors, educators, performers, film
> archivists, and motion picture distributors who depend upon the public
> domain for their livelihood.  They filed suit in 2001, pointing out that
> Congress exceeded its power under the Copyright Clause and the First
> Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  They eventually won at the district
> court level, but that decision was overturned on appeal in the Tenth
> Circuit.   The U.S. Supreme Court - which rarely grants review - did so
> here.
>
> Petitioners filed their brief last week, and you can find it here:
> http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/6684.  We are expecting a number of
> parties to file "friends of the court" briefs.   The EFF's brief can be
> found here:  http://www.eff.org/cases/golan-v-holder .
>
> The Wikimedia Foundation joined the EFF brief in light of the tremendously
> important role that the public domain plays in our mission to "collect and
> develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain,
> and to disseminate it effectively and globally."  We host millions of works
> in the public domain and are dependent on thousands of volunteers to search
> out and archive these works.  Wikimedia Commons alone boasts approximately 3
> million items in these cultural commons.  To put it bluntly, Congress cannot
> be permitted the power to remove such works from the public domain whenever
> it finds it suitable to do so.  It is not right - legally or morally.   The
> Copyright Clause expressly requires limits on copyright terms.  The First
> Amendment disallows theft from the creative commons.  Such works belong to
> our global knowledge.  For this reason, we join with the EFF and many others
> to encourage the Court to overturn a law that so threatens our public domain
> - not only with respect to the particular works at issue but also with
> respect to the bad precedent such a law would set for the future.
>
> We anticipate the Court will reach a decision sometime before July 2012.
>
>


--
Ting

Ting's Blog: http://wingphilopp.blogspot.com/


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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Kat Walsh-4
In reply to this post by Geoff Brigham
On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 2:40 PM, Geoff Brigham <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus
> ("friends of the court") brief in Golan v. Holder, a case of great
> importance before the Supreme Court that will affect our understanding of
> the public domain for years to come.  See
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_v._Holder.  The EFF is representing the
> Wikimedia Foundation in addition to the American Association of Libraries,
> the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of
> Research Libraries, the University of Michigan Dean of Libraries, and the
> Internet Archive.

I'm really happy to see us start getting involved in this kind of
work; I think it too is part of fulfilling our mission. Thanks for
your work on this, Geoff.

-Kat

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
On 22 June 2011 20:15, George Herbert <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I would like to personally thank the WMF staff and board for having
> pursued this.


Seconded. This is something important enough we need to stand up about it.

Is there anything we can do, in practical terms, to support this?


- d.

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Luiz Augusto-2
I'm very pleased with this amicus brief, specially because it joins both an
organization that I spent my free time getting fun (Wikimedia) and a
organization that represents my professional categorie (American Association
of Libraries, despite the fact that I'm not a US citizen).

Congratulations and thank you for all of those that worked on it!

[[:m:User:555]]

On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 5:00 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 22 June 2011 20:15, George Herbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I would like to personally thank the WMF staff and board for having
> > pursued this.
>
>
> Seconded. This is something important enough we need to stand up about it.
>
> Is there anything we can do, in practical terms, to support this?
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Lodewijk
In reply to this post by Geoff Brigham
Thank you for sharing! This potentially has a big impact indeed, and the
support of the WMF seems more than appropriate.

Is this something the WMF will do more often in the future (or has done in
the past) or is this an extreme exception due to its importance?

With kind regards,

Lodewijk

2011/6/22 Geoff Brigham <[hidden email]>

> Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus
> ("friends of the court") brief in Golan v. Holder, a case of great
> importance before the Supreme Court that will affect our understanding of
> the public domain for years to come.  See
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_v._Holder.  The EFF is representing the
> Wikimedia Foundation in addition to the American Association of Libraries,
> the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of
> Research Libraries, the University of Michigan Dean of Libraries, and the
> Internet Archive.
>
> This case raises critical issues as to whether Congress may withdraw works
> from the public domain and throw them back under a copyright regime.  In
> 1994, in response to the U.S. joining of the Berne Convention, Congress
> granted copyright protection to a large body of foreign works that the
> Copyright Act had previously placed in the public domain.  Affected
> cultural
> goods probably number in the millions, including, for example, Metropolis
> (1927), The Third Man (1949), Prokofiev's Peter in the Wolf, music by
> Stravinsky, paintings by Picasso, drawings by M.C. Escher, films by
> Fellini,
> Hitchcock, and Renoir, and writings by George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and
> J.R.R. Tolkien.
>
> The petitioners are orchestra conductors, educators, performers, film
> archivists, and motion picture distributors who depend upon the public
> domain for their livelihood.  They filed suit in 2001, pointing out that
> Congress exceeded its power under the Copyright Clause and the First
> Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  They eventually won at the district
> court level, but that decision was overturned on appeal in the Tenth
> Circuit.   The U.S. Supreme Court - which rarely grants review - did so
> here.
>
> Petitioners filed their brief last week, and you can find it here:
> http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/6684.  We are expecting a number of
> parties to file "friends of the court" briefs.   The EFF's brief can be
> found here:  http://www.eff.org/cases/golan-v-holder .
>
> The Wikimedia Foundation joined the EFF brief in light of the tremendously
> important role that the public domain plays in our mission to "collect and
> develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain,
> and to disseminate it effectively and globally."  We host millions of works
> in the public domain and are dependent on thousands of volunteers to search
> out and archive these works.  Wikimedia Commons alone boasts approximately
> 3
> million items in these cultural commons.  To put it bluntly, Congress
> cannot
> be permitted the power to remove such works from the public domain whenever
> it finds it suitable to do so.  It is not right - legally or morally.   The
> Copyright Clause expressly requires limits on copyright terms.  The First
> Amendment disallows theft from the creative commons.  Such works belong to
> our global knowledge.  For this reason, we join with the EFF and many
> others
> to encourage the Court to overturn a law that so threatens our public
> domain
> - not only with respect to the particular works at issue but also with
> respect to the bad precedent such a law would set for the future.
>
> We anticipate the Court will reach a decision sometime before July 2012.
>
>
> --
> Geoff Brigham
> General Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Shlomi Fish
In reply to this post by Kat Walsh-4
On Wed, 22 Jun 2011 15:25:55 -0400
Kat Walsh <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 2:40 PM, Geoff Brigham <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus
> > ("friends of the court") brief in Golan v. Holder, a case of great
> > importance before the Supreme Court that will affect our understanding of
> > the public domain for years to come.  See
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_v._Holder.  The EFF is representing the
> > Wikimedia Foundation in addition to the American Association of Libraries,
> > the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of
> > Research Libraries, the University of Michigan Dean of Libraries, and the
> > Internet Archive.
>
> I'm really happy to see us start getting involved in this kind of
> work; I think it too is part of fulfilling our mission. Thanks for
> your work on this, Geoff.
>

I agree. It is important that one will not undermine the public domain.
Thanks for pursuing it.

Regards,

        Shlomi Fish


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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Jim Redmond
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 15:00, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Is there anything we can do, in practical terms, to support this?


IANAL, but I think the most practical support any of us could do would be
donations to the EFF (who'll actually argue the case for our side) or
sympathetic organizations filing an amicus brief (such as the WMF).  Beyond
that, moral support and words of encouragement will have to do.

--
Jim Redmond
[[User:Jredmond]]
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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Lodewijk
On 22 June 2011 21:14, Lodewijk <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Is this something the WMF will do more often in the future (or has done in
> the past) or is this an extreme exception due to its importance?


I was talkiing to someone today, describing WMF as an 800lb gorilla
that tries very hard not to have people notice its muscles ...

Our power is something to save for special occasions. This is,IMO,
just the sort of thing it's for. I would hope we don't have to use it
very soon again. But if this sort of thing comes up again, it would be
appropriate.

I would suggest Wikimedia chapters and fans reblog it and possibly do
press releases. Worldwide publicity is appropriate for this - the US
keeps setting the terms of copyright of late.


- d.

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Mike Godwin-2
In reply to this post by Geoff Brigham
Kat Walsh writes:

I'm really happy to see us start getting involved in this kind of
> work; I think it too is part of fulfilling our mission. Thanks for
> your work on this, Geoff.
>

Chiming in here -- I'm very happy to see Geoff's announcement too. As Geoff
and a few others here know, I've favored WMF involvement in this case at
least since it was confirmed that the Supreme Court is going to hear it (and
of course I conferred with my EFF colleagues in the runup to the Supreme
Court's granting certiorari in Golan v. Holder). The case is centrally
important to the Wikimedia Foundation's continuing ability to offer free
knowledge and to preserve and provide access to important cultural and
artistic creative works.

I'm also pleased that another former employer of mine, the Information
Society Project at Yale Law School, is filing an amicus brief as well.
Here's the text of the Yale announcement (and a link to a PDF of the brief)
for those who are interested:

"Today, professors and fellows associated with the Information Society
Project at Yale Law School filed an amicus brief in *Golan v. Holder*, a
case that will be heard before the United States Supreme Court this fall. In
this brief, we argue that the Court should apply strict First Amendment
scrutiny to Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, a law that
allows works to be taken out of the public domain and placed back under
copyright protection. Although the plaintiffs in this case had stipulated
that intermediate scrutiny was the appropriate standard of review under the
First Amendment, we argue that when Congress abrogates a central
constitutional privilege—as it has done here, by stripping away a
traditional speech-protective contour of copyright law—Congress must satisfy
a more rigorous standard of review.

"The brief is available for download here:
http://yaleisp.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Golan-Amicus-Brief-filed.pdf

"Many thanks are due to everyone at the ISP who helped in writing,
researching, and thinking about this brief over the past two months!"


--Mike Godwin
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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Alec Conroy-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
I'm so overjoyed to see we've taken this step!  Good work Board,
Staff, Counsel, and everyone else!!!
It always seemed our obvious destiny to lend a helping hand to
important issues like this, I'm really really happy that this day has
arrived.

> Is there anything we can do, in practical terms, to support this?
Yes.   Provided we don't use significant foundation resources,  we do
have power to put this Copyright Question "on the map" if we really
want to.   Jimmy or another prominent wikimedian doing an interview
with Stewart/Colbert, Maddow (who tends toward the geek), or any other
news outlet.

I leave it to wiser minds to decide whether this is worth doing.  But
eventually an issue will come along where it will be worth doing.
Personally, I think think the WMF has already 'crossed the rubicon' by
joining the suit-- the powers-that-be that are upset by that are upset
already--  so having taken a stance, why not publicize it?

I tend to think any time we can be seen standing next to the the
Librarians, we come off looking good.  The most we can associate those
two-- ALA, WMF; ALA, WMF;  The more we do that, the more outsiders
will "get" us as a legitimate social institution, rather than see us
as "just another website" paid for by reader donation.

Alec

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Sue Gardner-2
On 22 June 2011 18:24, Alec Conroy <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> I tend to think any time we can be seen standing next to the the
> Librarians, we come off looking good.  The most we can associate those
> two-- ALA, WMF; ALA, WMF;  The more we do that, the more outsiders
> will "get" us as a legitimate social institution, rather than see us
> as "just another website" paid for by reader donation.
>

I'm particularly pleased about that part too, Alec, for exactly the
reason you give. They're our natural allies, and having that be
publicly visible helps people understand us better :-)

Thanks,
Sue

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

geni
In reply to this post by Geoff Brigham
On 22 June 2011 19:40, Geoff Brigham <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The Wikimedia Foundation joined the EFF brief in light of the tremendously
> important role that the public domain plays in our mission to "collect and
> develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain,
> and to disseminate it effectively and globally."

Globally? Oh I think not. A situation where works are PD in the US,
Afganistan, and Iran is of pretty limited use if you want to
disseminate stuff globaly


>  We host millions of works
> in the public domain and are dependent on thousands of volunteers to search
> out and archive these works.  Wikimedia Commons alone boasts approximately 3
> million items in these cultural commons.

Ohh bad example. You haven't consulted commons policy have you? We
don't carry stuff on commons unless it is PD in the US and it's
country of origin.

>  To put it bluntly, Congress cannot
> be permitted the power to remove such works from the public domain whenever
> it finds it suitable to do so.

Parliament in the UK has had that power since 1710 when copyright was
invented. The world hasn't ended. Try undesirable.

> Such works belong to our global knowledge.

You can't copyright knowledge. The usual term used there is culture.

> For this reason, we join with the EFF and many others
> to encourage the Court to overturn a law that so threatens our public domain

Nice line but the foundation does generally makes the attempt to
appear like it's aware of non US areas. Truth is of course that
congress can't impact my public domain one way or another.


--
geni

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

geni
In reply to this post by Sue Gardner-2
On 23 June 2011 03:09, Sue Gardner <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm particularly pleased about that part too, Alec, for exactly the
> reason you give. They're our natural allies, and having that be
> publicly visible helps people understand us better :-)

I imagine that having non-US GLAMs undersand that the foundation wants
to be able to ignore what they regard as their more legitimate
copyright claims will be really helpful.


--
geni

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Alec Conroy-2
> I imagine that having non-US GLAMs undersand that the foundation wants
> to be able to ignore what they regard as their more legitimate
> copyright claims will be really helpful.

It's not about ignoring legitimate copyright claims--  we can always
decide for ourselves what is a legitimate copyright claim for
WMF-hosted projects.  We can recognize claims even if we are not
required to do so under US law-- but we can't go the other way-- if
the US law says no, we can't host it.    If this case goes the wrong
way, it's possible that  the congress will force all US citizens and
organizations to recognize illegitimate copyright claims.

Remember that in the US law, copyright isn't a 'god-given-right' or
anything like free speech or right to property, or even right to
privacy-   Copyright isn't a 'right'-- it's just a government granted
monopoly intended exclusively to achieve a pragmatic end--
incentivizing creation.   The nation's judicial branch has a
legitimate question that's gone all the way to the supreme court--
precisely how should copyright laws be interpreted in the internet
age?

Of course the non-profits are right to share their analysis with the
US supreme court.   It's not as if they're actually deciding the
case-- they're just contributing to the discussion with the US Supreme
Court, sharing their best guess about what their lawyers believe the
correct answer is..

Alec

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Alec Conroy-2
In reply to this post by geni
>> Such works belong to our global knowledge.
> You can't copyright knowledge. The usual term used there is culture.

Clearly, you can copyright knowledge, for a time.  True, you can't
copyright facts or scientific laws (yet)-- but some forms of knowledge
absolutely get copyrighted, and they're lobbying for even greater
powers over what people can read, write, and share.  In the past, for
example, some entities have even claimed 'copyright' to try to limit
distribution of knowledge of the specific 'special whole numbers--
since those numbers were the ones they picked as "keys" when setting
up their content encryption system.

To bring things full circle,  I think what we, collectively, are
asserting is that culture is, in fact, a very essential type of
educational knowledge.

There are two big myths I wish I could debunk:     One is "The Myth of
Non-Educational Knowledge"--   all information is educational, but
some sets of information are certainly more educational than others;
it's a spectrum, not a dichotomy.

The secomd myth is what I'd call 'The Myth of the Superiority of High
Culture"--  basically the idea that operas and classical music are
somehow a 'more important' culture to document than, say, anime or
jazz.  In practice, 'high culture' usually means 'the culture of the
most affluent'.  All culture,  whether scientific, encyclopedic,  high
art, low art, pop culture,  kitsch, criminal, idiosyncratic, or even
literally hunter-gather tribal culture-- all cultures are important to
document so we can understand our fellow humans.

Our species has important work to do.   The more that binds us
together, the better.   Perhaps the things that bind us will simple
cultural artifacts just like this--   things like a common love of the
images of M.C. Escher, the films of Alfred Hitchcock,  or the writings
of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Culture is knowledge.

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

Tom Morris-5
On Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 08:47, Alec Conroy <[hidden email]> wrote:

>>> Such works belong to our global knowledge.
>> You can't copyright knowledge. The usual term used there is culture.
>
> Clearly, you can copyright knowledge, for a time.  True, you can't
> copyright facts or scientific laws (yet)-- but some forms of knowledge
> absolutely get copyrighted, and they're lobbying for even greater
> powers over what people can read, write, and share.  In the past, for
> example, some entities have even claimed 'copyright' to try to limit
> distribution of knowledge of the specific 'special whole numbers--
> since those numbers were the ones they picked as "keys" when setting
> up their content encryption system.
>

The issue with that wasn't so much the copyright of the encryption key
as the fact that it was an anti-circumvention measure under the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other laws internationally that
implement Article 11 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty like European
Directive 2001/29/EC.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-circumvention

Article 11 implementations may be incompatible with sanity, reality
and/or traditionally recognised civil liberties. If is possible to
make circumvention technologies without infringing copyright: for
instance, if you had a phone that, say, had a small sensor to decide
whether or not is allowed to take photographs or videos in a concert
venue, and you decided to put a smal piece of black tape over said
sensor, you have circumvented a "technological measure [...] used by
authors in connection with the exercise of their rights under this
Treaty or the Berne Convention and that restrict acts, in respect of
their works, which are not authorized by the authors concerned or
permitted by law". But in doing so, you haven't infringed on the
copyright of either the concert performer or the creator of the
device.

Another similar case might be some of the CDs that you could disable
the DRM on by covering certain areas of the disk surface with a black
marker pen.

I Am Not A Lawyer, but I occasionally play one on Wikipedia.

--
Tom Morris
<http://tommorris.org/>

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

geni
In reply to this post by Alec Conroy-2
On 23 June 2011 07:54, Alec Conroy <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It's not about ignoring legitimate copyright claims--  we can always
> decide for ourselves what is a legitimate copyright claim for
> WMF-hosted projects.

Except the WMF just signed up in support of the EMF side which means
it's now the foundation's position that such copyright claims should
have no significance in the US.

> If this case goes the wrong
> way, it's possible that  the congress will force all US citizens and
> organizations to recognize illegitimate copyright claims.

That doesn't even make sense.

> The nation's judicial branch has a
> legitimate question that's gone all the way to the supreme court--
> precisely how should copyright laws be interpreted in the internet
> age?

Indeed the lawyers are free to make such arguments. No reason for us
to get involved.


> Of course the non-profits are right to share their analysis with the
> US supreme court.   It's not as if they're actually deciding the
> case-- they're just contributing to the discussion with the US Supreme
> Court, sharing their best guess about what their lawyers believe the
> correct answer is..

Did you even bother to read the opening post?

Arcane legal arguments about what the law is falls outside the
foundation's remit. We are not a lawyers benefit foundation. No the
foundation has taken a very practical real world campaigning position
which probably sounds great to a limited number of people within the
US but is going to cause problems outside.

--
geni

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Re: Amicus Brief Filed in Golan v. Holder: Fighting for the Public Domain

geni
In reply to this post by Alec Conroy-2
On 23 June 2011 08:47, Alec Conroy <[hidden email]> wrote:

>>> Such works belong to our global knowledge.
>> You can't copyright knowledge. The usual term used there is culture.
>
> Clearly, you can copyright knowledge, for a time.  True, you can't
> copyright facts or scientific laws (yet)-- but some forms of knowledge
> absolutely get copyrighted, and they're lobbying for even greater
> powers over what people can read, write, and share.  In the past, for
> example, some entities have even claimed 'copyright' to try to limit
> distribution of knowledge of the specific 'special whole numbers--
> since those numbers were the ones they picked as "keys" when setting
> up their content encryption system.

Thats not copyright but a weird case of IP law that isn't very well
classified at the moment.

> To bring things full circle,  I think what we, collectively, are
> asserting is that culture is, in fact, a very essential type of
> educational knowledge.

Not within any useful definition of knowledge. Knowing how to build a
Dinosaur costume is knowledge. Barney & Friends is merely an
unfortunate application of that knowledge.


> There are two big myths I wish I could debunk:     One is "The Myth of
> Non-Educational Knowledge"--   all information is educational, but
> some sets of information are certainly more educational than others;
> it's a spectrum, not a dichotomy.
>
> The secomd myth is what I'd call 'The Myth of the Superiority of High
> Culture"--  basically the idea that operas and classical music are
> somehow a 'more important' culture to document than, say, anime or
> jazz.  In practice, 'high culture' usually means 'the culture of the
> most affluent'.  All culture,  whether scientific, encyclopedic,  high
> art, low art, pop culture,  kitsch, criminal, idiosyncratic, or even
> literally hunter-gather tribal culture-- all cultures are important to
> document so we can understand our fellow humans.

Science is not a culture it is a method.

Ultimately knowledge can be protected at all it is covered by patent
not copyright.

--
geni

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