Monday, 1 December 2008

"Jazz would be illegal"


The Public Domain: "James Boyle introduces readers to the idea of the public domain and describes how it is being tragically eroded by our current copyright, patent, and trademark laws. In a series of fascinating case studies, Boyle explains why gene sequences, basic business ideas and pairs of musical notes are now owned, why jazz might be illegal if it were invented today, why most of 20th century culture is legally unavailable to us, and why today’s policies would probably have smothered the World Wide Web at its inception. Appropriately given its theme, the book will be sold commercially but also made available online for free under a Creative Commons license."
If I say my sound is "like woody guthrie and joseph spence" then am I not using those artists' fame to advance my own just as much as if I were to cover a tune by either? Yet that is precisely what happened to John Coltrane for his 'cover' of My Favourite Things, the only 'royalty' due to him was for the mere 'performance' of the work. A deadman's estate got all the rest.

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