More on copyright

Sfauthor at Sfauthor at
Sat Mar 1 18:59:30 UTC 1997

Yes, the law can be confusing. The lawyers like it that way--it gives them
job security.

Here are some resources for learning more about copyright (all mostly U. S.
centered, except the Wired article on the World Intellectual Property
Organization conference held in December in Geneva).

The Copyright Handbook, 3rd Edition, Fishman, Nolo Press, Berkeley, 1996,
ISBN 0-87337-323-5.

"Confab Clips Copyright Cartel," Wired magazine, March, 1997.

Keep in mind that ethics and the law are two different things. If they were
identical, we wouldn't have so many lawyer jokes.

I also wouldn't assume that the publishers of the disks in question are going
to make a bundle. Would you pay a lot of money for raw Sanskrit texts? When
the identical texts are available for free?

As a final historical tidbit, you may be interested to know that in a
conflict between copyright and the First Amendment, copyright usually trumps
the First Amendment. Why? Because the First Amendment is just an amendment,
while copyright appears in the *body* of the U. S. Constitution. Why? Recall
that many of the founding fathers were prodigious writers and inventors.

Brian Akers
sfauthor at

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