In the book Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive to Excess (edited by Jerry Brito of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2012 ) the impressive list of contributors makes a case for reeling back the twentieth century extensions of copyright. They advocate for the consideration of the original intent of the creators of the constitution as we reinvent copyright law to meet the need of today’s digital world. They argue that this is “NOT” a liberal view, but rather the true conservative and libertarian position.
What does the constitution say about intellectual property? In Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 (the Copyright Clause) the constitution empowers the United States Congress to “..promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”
The book, which notes there is no precedent in “common law” for copyright protection, states that “What follows in this book is not a moral case for or against copyright; it is a pragmatic look at the excesses of the present copyright regime and of proposals to further expand it.” You can read the entire first chapter of the book on website of the Mercatus Center.
On the website you will find a link to purchase which sends you to Amazon.com. You can order a Kindle version or a paperback. The Kindle version which can be read in any web browser if you don’t have a Kindle is just $3.99. If you haven’t tried out the Kindle Cloud Reader it’s possible to download the book so you can read off line.
- The Library of Congress updated the progress in digitizing the Copyright Card Catalog in Copyright digitization: Moving right along! which posted on 22 Mar.
- On 19 Mar the US Supreme court ruled that the right to resell publications within the US extends to those that had been purchased legally in other countries. Read more on Newser.
- The Raw Story in a posting on 21 Mar, reports that a Federal judge has ruled that “clipping” news articles and posting them online is a violation of copyright. Read more on the website. Keep an eye on this, there are many companies doing similar “clipping” and information originators are fighting back.
In commenting on “Who Holds the Copyright” Michael Hiat, CG noted that it seemed like an implied work for hire to have someone snap your photo with your camera. This was definitely part of my thought process, but…. There are many professional genealogists out there that believe they own the copyright of the work they do for clients. The law agrees. Without a contract stating otherwise, anything written by the researcher can only be used with their consent. The facts they dig up can of course be shared, they are facts. But the actual report is another matter, and many have statements on the report stating it is not to be shared.
I am interested in comments from researchers, clients, and potential clients on the issue of works for hire. I would also like to post copies of contracts that deal with the copyright issue up front (we can leave out any names and specific details. If you are willing to share, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Results of Last Poll— 55.5% of respondents thought the picture taker owned copyright of the picture. 44.5% thought the camera owner owned the copyright, no one was still confused. Take the new poll, who owns the copyright when a genealogist is paid to do research for a client?