Public domain and lawyers

I came across this link accidentally:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071022-european-copyright-law-used-to-threaten-canadian-public-domain-site.html

Apparently a Canadian public domain site received threatening letters from an Austrian publisher in regard of some music scores which were out of copyright in Canada but in copyright in the EU. The web site owner, who was providing a public service, not selling anything, decided that they didn’t need the hassle and removed it.

This is another straw in the wind, I think.

3 Responses to “Public domain and lawyers”


  1. Chris Weimer

    As long as the servers were in Canada, European copyright law didn’t apply, thus the Austrian publisher didn’t have a leg to stand on.

    It’s terrible that they didn’t stand up to the publishers…

  2. Roger Pearse

    I particularly liked the bit where the publisher didn’t care if the item was available to the world, so long as people in Europe had no access to it. I don’t think that businesses should injure their host community like that.

  3. Maureen

    I once received a similarly ludicrous letter from a composer, telling me that I shouldn’t even _write lyrics to his tune_ without his permission, and that posting them was a violation of copyright.

    I was pretty sure this wasn’t true. I wouldn’t have done it in the first place if I thought it were a copyright violation. So I asked around, found the relevant case, posted the name of said case on that page, and diligently refused to acknowledge the overreaching person otherwise. Not even an email.

    (I also think I may have submitted the initial letter to Chilling Effects at one point.)

    But all this was under the law of my own country. I would take far greater pleasure in pointing out the beauties of sovereignty to an officious, overreaching person from another country. (Although, again, I probably would not do so by sending them an email back, as the temptation to say actionable things would be strong.)



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