- In 1982, Motion Picture Association of America head Jack Valenti told Congress that “the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman home alone.”
- Microsoft UK held a contest for the best film on “intellectual property theft”; finalists had to sign away “all intellectual property rights” on “terms acceptable to Microsoft.”
- By Passing the memorial Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, Congress added 20 years to copyrights. “I Got You Babe” now won’t enter the public domain until 2061.
- For including a 60-second piece of silence on their album, the Planets were threatened with a lawsuit by the estate of composer John Cage, which said they’d ripped off his silent work 4’33”. The Planets countered that the estate failed to specify which 60 of the 273 seconds in Cage’s piece had been pilfered.
- A French director had to pay $1,300 after a character in his film whistled the communist anthem, “The Internationale,” without permission.
- Martin Luther King JR.’s estate charges academic authors $50 for each sentence of the “I Have a Dream” speech that they reprint.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Mother Jones collects a fascinating list of facts regarding the [mis]use of idea monopolies (patents, trademark, copyright):