[TAG] [Fwd:] In RI federal court -- Harvard vs. the RIAA
rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Dec 23 01:22:49 MSK 2008
Quoting Jimmy O'Regan (joregan at gmail.com):
> I've been working on Polish-English machine translation for a while,
> and having parallel text is something of a must for me. So, I OCRd
> some books I found on the internet, proofread them, and sent them to
> Project Gutenberg. Under American Law, that's perfectly legal--the
> books are in the public domain--but I'm not American, and am
> *possibly* guilty of copyright infringement under EU law, because EU
> copyright law has a bunch of ideas that American law doesn't, such as
> the 'natural rights' of authors (not that it isn't frequently referred
> to, but it has no constitutional basis in American law) and 'sweat of
> the brow' rights. The act of sticking a book on a scanner may be
> enough to create a new copyright in the EU, in which case I may be
> screwed--it's highly unlikely, not least because nothing can stop PG
> from distributing the e-texts, but it's a possibility.
I assume you're referring to the "moral rights of authors" codified in
the 1928 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic
Works treaty's section 6bis: right of attributed authorship, right of
anonymity, and right to preserve the integrity of the creative work.
(This is distinct from any economic rights, and can be waived or in some
places assigned to the custody of others, but not sold.)
The USA's position at the time it ratified the Berne Convention was that
no specific legislation was required to implement authors' moral rights,
because they were adequately covered by existing tort laws of other
sort. This assertion was proabably disingenuous when stated: It's
probably closer to the truth that Congress merely was suspicious of
legal innovations coming from Continental civil-law tradition -- but
there was some truth in it.
A survey of the gradual acceptance of the concept:
> It still remains to be seen if the court agrees that this is what's
> happening in this case. OTOH, the RIAA have made statements recently
> to say that they won't be chasing after people in this manner in the
> future. I'd be surprised if that's the truth, but there's at least a
> little hope.
I suppose it is theoretically possible that RIAA might tell the truth
one day, yes -- if only through mishap.
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