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Impressed

I have to admit, Bound by Law really did it for me! There have been instances where I was dissatisfied with Wikinomics because it wasn’t balanced enough in its arguments for my taste. Enter Bound by Law! I really enjoyed this book and respected its arguments.
The description of the current copyright laws was very informative (Bound by Law? p10-11). I had no idea that current copyrights could last for so long! Seventy to ninety-five years after the death of the author seems excessive. This was a real eye-opener.
One of the key issues that the book addressed was the lawsuit problem. It is so disappointing, if not surprising, that copyright holders use intimidation to block creators from using their copyrighted item, even when it would be a fair use (Bound by Law? p24).
Certainly an incidental recording of a cell phone ring isn’t worth $10,000! And perhaps, wouldn’t the presence of the ring actually benefit the copyright holder – I’m sure they are receiving payment from the cell phone maker – and when people hear the ring, they may want it. Hey, free advertising!

Comments

Your point about free advertising brought up an interesting point. I think you are correct in saying that the ring of the cell phone may encourage purchase later on. However, I cannot resist playing the devil's advocate here. In the business world we live in, is it not advantages for the owner of the ringtone to take payment for the ring as well as benefit from the "free advertising"? I think that we are responsible for creating the atmosphere that nearly everything must be paid for. From a business perspective it is really easy to say "Why turn down the $10,000 when we can force them to pay it and we can still have our product displayed in a movie or tv show?". I agree that it is ridiculous but when I see things like that I cannot help but look at it from the other perspective.

By the way, I do agree with you that Bound by Law did a great job demonstrating many little known facts about copyright laws. Furthermore, the thought of a copyright existing 70 to 95 years after the author has died is mind-blowing!

Your last point is right on, and really highlights the shortsightedness of the this hyper-sensitive approach to copyright protection. Of course, the recording industry in this country has long been notoriously resistant to openness and change, but that doesn't make them right or even mean they're acting in their own best interest. "Any publicity is good publicity" is the old adage, and in this case the copyright battle probably generated more attention for an otherwise very niche film, but at the same time that broadened audience was never exposed to the disputed song. No royalties, no sales as a result... what's really at stake? At least we seem to be moving in the right direction, and hopefully movements like Creative Commons will push on and help find the balance in the near future.

I was surprised too at the length of time a copyright is protected. And I don't remember exactly what it said about renewing a copyright, but that could make it even longer. Why is that needed?

The example of the Simpson's clip in the background of a documentary is a good one too. It just seems wrong that the Simpson's creator, Matt Groening, gave permission, but FOX wanted compensation.

I share your appreciation of Bound By Law. As a creative professional, I am intimidated by prevailing practice in copyright law. Thankfully, I've never been sued but I'm also very cautious and do my best to avoid any possibility of legal problems. What frustrates me is how people seem to be taking advantage of the law just to make money. It's hard to believe that those bringing suit really believe they will be harmed in many of the cases cited in the book. Oh well, I guess that's part and parcel of our justice system. I did take heart from the historical context they framed the current situation in though. It seems like if people stop being so intimidated, the pendulum will probably start swinging back the other way.

I share your appreciation of Bound By Law. As a creative professional, I am intimidated by prevailing practice in copyright law. Thankfully, I've never been sued but I'm also very cautious and do my best to avoid any possibility of legal problems. What frustrates me is how people seem to be taking advantage of the law just to make money. It's hard to believe that those bringing suit really believe they will be harmed in many of the cases cited in the book. Oh well, I guess that's part and parcel of our justice system. I did take heart from the historical context they framed the current situation in though. It seems like if people stop being so intimidated, the pendulum will probably start swinging back the other way.

I share your appreciation of Bound By Law. As a creative professional, I am intimidated by prevailing practice in copyright law. Thankfully, I've never been sued but I'm also very cautious and do my best to avoid any possibility of legal problems. What frustrates me is how people seem to be taking advantage of the law just to make money. It's hard to believe that those bringing suit really believe they will be harmed in many of the cases cited in the book. Oh well, I guess that's part and parcel of our justice system. I did take heart from the historical context they framed the current situation in though. It seems like if people stop being so intimidated, the pendulum will probably start swinging back the other way.