[Videolib] Round one on Copyright case

Jessica Rosner (jrosner@kino.com)
Wed, 01 Dec 2004 17:23:12 -0500

Well Jed as I predicted the thing REALLY got tossed and though I know it
will appealed I think there is zero chance of it getting anywhere. It may
not be good law but it is the law

>From The Chronicle For Higher Education
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Judge Dismisses Challenge to 4 Laws That Archivists Say Skew Concept of
Copyright
By ANDREA L. FOSTER

A federal judge has ruled against legal scholars and archivists who
challenged current
copyright law in hopes of making it easier to archive old literature and
films on
the Internet, where they would be available free to the public.
The case, Kahle v. Ashcroft, pitted two archive groups -- the Internet
Archive,
a nonprofit digital library, and the Prelinger Archives, which preserves
films --
against the U.S. Justice Department. The archivists argued that four
copyright laws
are collectively keeping people from gaining access to "orphan" works:
out-of-print books, old films, and academic articles that have little or no
commercial
value.

The laws that the archivists fault are the Copyright Act of 1976, the Berne
Convention
Implementation Act of 1988, the Copyright Renewal Act of 1992, and the Sonny
Bono
Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998. A central part of the archivists'
argument
is that laws granting copyright protection to all works, even those for
which the
creators have not sought protection, have radically altered the "traditional
contours of copyright."

But Judge Maxine M. Chesney, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District
of California, disagreed with that claim and dismissed the case without
hearing
arguments on it. In an opinion based in part on the U.S. Supreme Court's
2003 decision
in Eldred v. Ashcroft (The Chronicle, January 16, 2003), Judge Chesney wrote
that
laws that abolished the requirement that works be registered to receive
copyright
protection do not "alter the scope of copyright protection, but merely
determine
the procedures necessary to obtain or maintain such protection."

Lawrence Lessig, a prominent expert on law and technology, handled the
challenge
for the archivists, along with two other legal scholars. All three are
affiliated
with Stanford Law School's Center for Internet & Society.

Jennifer S. Granick, executive director of the center, said on Monday that
the judge
got it wrong.

"If you have a law that says you don't have to apply for copyright
protection,"
said Ms. Granick, "that clearly is about scope." The plaintiffs plan to
appeal the ruling.

Proud Resident of a BLUE STATE

Jessica Rosner
Kino International
333 W 39th St. 503
NY NY 10018
jrosner@kino.com
212-629-6880

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