January 16, 2003 |
The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a law lengthening copyright protections, handing a victory to the entertainment industry, which had fought to keep collecting lucrative royalty fees on an avalanche of Jazz Age books, songs and movies that were about to pass into the public domain. In a 7-2 decision in Eldred v. Ashcroft, the court said Congress did not violate the Constitution in 1998 when it added two decades of copyright protection to works previously shielded for 50 years after their creators died.
January 9, 2013 |
You're going to hear sooner or later, and feel rather old when you do: The Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do," is now in the public domain, at least in Europe. How could that be? Though not the most durable Beatles song, it hardly seems to be from another time, though given the passage of 50 years, it most certainly is. Remember '60s hysteria? The kids who wrote "Beatles" on their contact lenses because they couldn't think about anything else? The girls who saved the Kleenex tissues into which they'd wept at the Shea Stadium concert?
October 15, 2003 |
It used to be that most artists were doomed to labor in obscurity. But lately the work of a growing number of painters, filmmakers, photographers and musicians has been attracting the attention of major corporations. Love for art has nothing to do with it. "Illegal Art: Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age," making its last stop on a national tour at Old City's Nexus Gallery, features photographer Tom Forsythe's "Food Chain Barbie" series, which drew a lawsuit from Mattel; painter Natalka Husar's reimagined covers of old romance novels, now the subject of a legal battle with publisher Harlequin; and comic artist Kieron Dwyer's parody of the Starbucks logo, which got slapped with a suit by the coffee chain.
March 14, 1989 |
A recent court ruling has solidified American Film Technologies Inc.'s position as a leader in the movie-colorization industry, officials of the Wayne firm said yesterday. A court in California dismissed a patent infringement case filed against AFTI by one of its leading competitors - Color Systems Technology. Both firms produce color versions of black-and-white films. "We went to the mat with this suit to protect our . . . technology, and refused to consider a settlement because we felt we would ultimately prevail," said George R. Jensen Jr., chairman of AFTI.
July 19, 2005 |
While the entertainment world has focused lately on fighting the illegal trading and copying of copyrighted music and movies, a Philadelphia company has found a lucrative - and, it says, law-abiding - niche selling DVDs of well-known programs it doesn't own. To be sure, the titles are a tad musty: The Andy Griffith Show, The Lone Ranger, and Casper the Friendly Ghost, to name a few. But by taking advantage of lapsed or improperly registered copyrights...
April 29, 1998 |
In June 1940, at an oil workers' strike in Oklahoma City, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie were asked to do what they did best - get the crowd singing at the next day's rally. A labor organizer's wife wanted to know if Guthrie knew any songs about union women. Next day, Guthrie had the now-famous "Union Maid": Oh you can't scare me, I'm sticking to the union, I'm sticking to the union Till the day I die. Bess Lomax Hawes, former director of the Folk Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts, remembers that years later, "I told Woody . . . 'Union Maid' had gone so completely into oral tradition that no one knew where it came from . . . It was part of the cultural landscape, no longer even associated with him. He answered, 'If that were true, it would be the greatest honor of my life.
October 6, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg invoked Aaron Copland. The chief justice countered with Jimi Hendrix. That generational divide at the high court was on display Wednesday as the justices heard arguments about whether Congress acted properly in extending U.S. copyright protection to millions of works by foreign artists and authors that had been in the public domain - meaning they could be performed and used in other ways without paying...
January 28, 1986
This year we've been besieged by advertising exploiting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One can only speculate on what might have been accomplished if the money that one national fast-food chain spent on television commercials honoring the civil rights leader had instead been applied 20 years ago to his crusade. Now that the man is safely dead, generating no new controversy and in the public domain, he's just another expedient way to sell burgers and fries. In view of the annual February appearance of actors in television commercials wearing stovepipe hats and powdered wigs and who tout all manner of products in the names of Washington and Lincoln, how long before we turn on our sets and see some pitchman saying, "I have a dream - only 7.9 APR financing on any car in stock"?
June 22, 1989 |
It is hard to resist a book originally described as "foul," especially if the comment was made in 1861 - by the gasping literary publisher who refused it. The book, East Lynne, is riveting Victorian smut guaranteed to do an equipment check on your tear ducts. If you're missing a favorite evening TV soap opera, this would make a worthy substitute. The author, Mrs. Henry Wood, has been described as "crude, sensational" and "highly popular. " Almost half a million copies of East Lynne were sold in Britain, and pirated versions from two dozen publishers appeared in America.
September 17, 1998
As Congress takes early steps toward a possible impeachment, it's crucial that the process be fair - and be seen as fair. But today, Republicans may polarize things needlessly by voting to release thousands of pages of records supplied by independent counsel Kenneth Starr - plus the videotape of President Clinton's grand-jury testimony. It's as if Mr. Starr's 445-page report, released last weekend, weren't more than enough to digest. Now that you've skimmed the book, here comes the movie, plus 17 boxes of The Making of . . . If the House Judiciary Committee goes that route, contrary to all the advance billing about its chairman's fair-mindedness, it will be making a fateful mistake.