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Re: [ontolog-forum] Copyright in Taxonomies: Leading case in US law (ADA

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2010 14:06:48 -0500
Message-id: <4CCDBE48.9020206@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 10/31/2010 12:24 PM, Ed - 0x1b, Inc. wrote:
> I like to think of Patents and Copyrights as gifts given by imperfect
> governments as rewards for progress within the Natural and Human
> realms, respectively.    (01)

A little reward is OK, but too much is a theft that destroys
creativity instead of promoting it.    (02)

Among the more ludicrous examples are the copyright on "Happy Birthday"
and Kraft's patent on the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich -- neither
of which was credited to the original composer or inventor.    (03)

But there are many more serious laws that prohibit the true inventors
and authors from using their own works, and there are huge numbers of
good publications that cannot be copied because it is impossible to
determine who owns the copyrights to them.    (04)

 From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Birthday_to_You    (05)

> The combination of melody and lyrics in "Happy Birthday to You" first
> appeared in print in 1912, and probably existed even earlier.[2],
> pp. 3132. None of these early appearances included credits or copyright
> notices. The Summy Company registered for copyright in 1935, crediting
> authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R.R. Forman. In 1990, Warner Chappell
> purchased the company owning the copyright for U.S. $15 million, with
> the value of "Happy Birthday" estimated at U.S. $5 million.[5]  Based
> on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claims that U.S. copyright
> will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances
> of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to it.
> In one specific instance in February 2010, these royalties were said
> [6] to amount to $700.    (06)

Until the 1960s, copyrights expired in 28 years, but Disney bought
enough congressmen and women to extend the copyrights in order to
protect their ownership of Mickey Mouse.  That is why people call
them the "Mickey Mouse laws."    (07)

What is ironic about Disney is that they built their empire by
freely copying works by Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm
Brothers.  If Mickey Mouse laws had been in place when Disney
used those works, the cost would have been much higher.    (08)

Even more ironic is that the primary reason why the movie industry
moved from New York to California is that they wanted to escape
from Edison's patents on movie technology.  They freely violated
Edison's patents because the travel time to California was too
long and expensive for Edison to sue for each violation.    (09)

John Sowa    (010)

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