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Home :: Archive :: 2012 :: January ::
PIPA/SOPA

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.027  Wednesday, 25 January 2012

 

[1] From:         Duncan Salkeld < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 24, 2012 6:27:56 PM EST

     Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: PIPA/SOPA 

 

[2] From:         Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 25, 2012 12:58:46 AM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: PIPA/SOPA 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:         Duncan Salkeld < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 24, 2012 6:27:56 PM EST

Subject:      RE: SHAKSPER: PIPA/SOPA

 

Maybe before it gets shut down for links to rogue sites, SHAKSPER could institute and award prizes – perhaps one for sheer brass neck and self-promotion.  

 

Duncan Salkeld

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:         Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 25, 2012 12:58:46 AM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: PIPA/SOPA

 

John Briggs asks me to comment on a possible policy of OUP demanding that authors in multi-author works agree that their contributions are “works made for hire.”  Unfortunately, without knowing the details, I cannot offer much guidance.  I agree, however, that this has not been the universal custom for publishers of compilations, although some do require it in at least some cases.  Compilations are the type of work for which the doctrine was devised (see definition (2) of “work made for hire” in 17 U.S.C. § 102).  Much depends on the type of compilation; for example, an anthology of essays obviously differs from a textbook.  Much also depends on the relative bargaining power of the author and publisher.

 

John also asks about the Research Works Act, a bill introduced by Darrell Issa (R Cal) and Carolyn Mahoney (D NY), which would roll back the government policy of requiring open network access to publications which follow from studies funded by the government.  Don’t worry, I don’t see any chance of enactment.

 

Gabriel Egan is to be commended for alerting Hardy that he has in the past posted links to his website which he seems to admit deliberately pirates copyrighted works.  Gabriel seems concerned that SHAKSPER might be shut down in some sort of Star Chamber proceeding “without due process.”  I see no need for such alarm.  In the first place, it is hardly likely that the legislation will pass, at least in anything resembling its current form.  One of the reasons I am sanguine about this is that the bills are much too ambiguous as to what is covered, as Gabriel correctly points out and as I mentioned in my last post.

 

Gabriel seems to have misunderstood something I said in the prior post.  In the portion of that post which Gabriel seems to feel is naive about the conceivable consequences of PIPA/SOPA in possibly not allowing defenses, I was not addressing the legislation but, rather, the current state of the law of contributory infringement.  Defenses are certainly available now.  Also, as for inadvertence, I was referring to Hardy’s lack of knowledge, not the scienter of the rogue site.  I cannot believe that Hardy has any idea that Gabriel is operating a pirate site.

 

My previous post was intended only to set out the current state of affairs; I did not provide my personal views on the issue.  But if anyone is interested, here it is:  I am torn on this.  As someone who spent a good deal of my career protecting the rights of authors, artists and other creators of intellectual property, I am jealous of their interests.  On the other hand, I am also constitutionally opposed to unnecessary government regulation, especially the kind that tends to chill the liberal exchange of information, and I surely don’t like the ambiguous quality of the present bills.  Perhaps the solution, as in most cases, is to leave it to the marketplace and the gradual evolution of remedies in accordance with common-law principles.  For example, it seems to me that if Wikipedia, for example, links to a site that provides cheap or free downloads of movies, songs, books, etc., the copyright owners would have ample remedies under Title 17 as it now exists, with all the procedural safeguards of U.S. law.  The doctrine of contributory infringement is universally accepted by the courts and well understood.

 
 

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