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The Courts

The Best of The Worst Hollow Copyright Claims (medium.com) 70

tiltowait writes: Slashdot readers should be familiar with most if not all of these, but the list of 20 Hollow Copyright Claims is a somber reminder of the current sorry state of intellectual property laws in the United States--as anyone who's encountered a paywall or a takedown notice (or remembers Slashdot's run-in with Scientology) can attest. It serves as a call to arms that we not lose sight of the benefits to sharing knowledge.
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The Best of The Worst Hollow Copyright Claims

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  • Missed one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @05:51PM (#51319131)

    One of the most disgusting recent copyright stunts was the Anne Frank Foundation extending the copyright on her diary by claiming Otto Frank as a co-author [nytimes.com].

    If anything ought to be considered owned by the world as a whole, it's Anne Frank's diary.

    • by crbowman ( 7970 )

      Why don't they try to determine her original contribution and simply publish that instead?

    • Access to original (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @02:06AM (#51320581) Journal

      This raises an interesting issue:
      If I edit Anne Frank's diary, I have copyright on the edited version. If I carefully set things up and take a high quality photo of the Mona Lisa, I have copyright over that photo. If a monkey takes a selfie with my camera and then I do a bunch of post-processing to "improve" it and publish the improved picture, I have copyright due to the improvements.

      In each case, somebody else could read the diaries and publish their own edition, take their own photo of the Mona Lisa, or freely distribute the original unimproved monkey selfie - but only if they have access to the diaries (or facsimile), to the Mona Lisa without plate glass in the way, or the unimproved selfie. When access to the original is restricted, reproductions can effectively exert copyright over the original when the original is out of copyright. (The monkey selfie camera owner missed this trick.)

    • Historians write a (very dubious) history book. Novelist writes a novel in which this dubious history is true. Historians sue. Historians lose.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ent... [bbc.co.uk]

      My analysis: You can't copyright facts. If you present something as a fact (such as in a history book), you lose any copyright over that "fact" (but not over your presentation of it.) Otherwise if you wrote a SF story involving Hawking radiation then Hawking could sue you.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @06:13PM (#51319203)

    The mouse will soon push to make them last longer and they also want the right to move stuff in to the vault and take off the market just to have them come back out years later.

    • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @08:57PM (#51319777)

      The mouse will soon push to make them last longer and they also want the right to move stuff in to the vault and take off the market just to have them come back out years later.

      ... and now they have The Force on their side...
      Dum dum dum da dumdum da dumdum d-
      Possible Intellectual Property Violation Detected
      no carrier

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Lets be clear that its not Mickey Mouse that is being extended, that is a trademark and does not expire as long as its used.

      It's an old black and white cartoon called Steam Boat Willy, in which Mickey appeared. If that went out of copyright, people would be able to make copies of it, and Walt Disney would lose the value of the sale of that cartoon.... which is zero because they don't sell it.

      • Man, am I jonesing for seeing Steam Boat Willy being backdoored.

      • People could animate Hamlet with a certain mouse as the protagonist (so long as it looks like 1930s Willy not 21st century Mickey.) They could distribute the Steam Boat Willy cartoon modified so that the mouse protagonist is naked and has oversized genitalia - just so long as they never call the mouse protagonist "Mickey". I think these are the sorts of possibilities that give Disney executives sleepless nights.

      • and Walt Disney would lose the value of the sale of that cartoon.... which is zero because they don't sell it.

        ...and it's shit.

      • Lets be clear that its not Mickey Mouse that is being extended, that is a trademark and does not expire as long as its used.

        It's an old black and white cartoon called Steam Boat Willy, in which Mickey appeared. ...

        Not necessarily the full story. Haven't done a full analysis, but, Steam Boat Willy arguably contained other copyrightable elements (Mickey Mouse for instance). Here's an interesting article regarding what happens when a character falls into the public domain: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/copyright-change-leaves-james-bond-up-for-grabs-in-canada/article22606770/ [theglobeandmail.com]

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @06:28PM (#51319229) Homepage
    Paywalls are not like the other issues here. Paywalls are legitimate although often futile attempt for people to make a profit off their labor. The problem is precisely the long-term copyright issues that the article actually discusses where the people claiming copyright are either claiming it on highly derivative works or on works made fifty or more years ago. Putting in paywalls into the summary distracts from the serious issues here. Focus on the real problem.
  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @06:37PM (#51319245) Homepage Journal

    "Author's lifetime plus 70 years"

    • The worst part with the bit about the Tolkien Estate is that they have so little actual control over Tolkien's works. A different group (the Saul Zaentz Company) owns rights to the movies, games, and merchandise. The Tolkien estate did sue about the games part, but only because Saul Zaentz Company was expanding that to include casino games. So who should own the rights, the descendants or some sleazy Hollywood holdings company?

  • What's the big deal? Those pictures look like they were taken by some monkey with a camera [wikipedia.org].

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @08:31PM (#51319643)
    you've already lost by calling it "Intellectual Property". It's always nice to pick the terms in a debate...
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @09:16PM (#51319833) Homepage
    The movies studios refusing to return the license back to the comic book companies and made more bad sequels to Superman and Spiderman.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    After the failure of the publishing industry to ban [huffingtonpost.com] international books for domestic resale, they have hit upon another venture. Access codes, which can only be used once. This makes used books obsolete when professors "require" that a student use the publisher's online garbage.

  • Disney (Score:5, Informative)

    by IHateGrapes ( 4418949 ) on Sunday January 17, 2016 @10:36PM (#51320097)
    Disney will be pushing for copyright extension in 5-6 years. It's obscene that the time between the Grimm Brother's original Snow White, and Disney's retelling, will soon be less than the time Disney's owned the copyright to their version of the Grimm fairytale.
  • Samuel Clemens dies in 1910. The copyrighted newest version of his partial autobiography came out in 2010.
  • I believe copyright makes sense only if it does not go against rational behavior.
    What I mean is:
    1) You retain copyright only until your product or idea is made available to a public (to prevent someone from copying your idea before you release it). Otherwise you would go against the normal human way to relate with reality called use - understand - improve (which we exhibit from the day we are born).
    2) A copyrighted item holder can retain copyright until he is alive and point 1 does not apply. Once you a
  • Imaginary Property is when adults still want to call dibs.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

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