Ruling on copyright

Subject: Ruling on copyright
From: Dan Lupo <Dan_Lupo -at- DELL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1996 12:19:00 CST

<Forwarding Information>
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From: <s=Meredith Beal/o=ccmail/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us>
Date: 12/5/96 11:48AM
To: <s=Fred Argir/o=ccmail/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us>
To: <s=Celia Bastis/o=ccmail/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us>
To: <s=Janet Jeffery/o=ccmail/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us>
To: <s=Dan Lupo/o=ccmail/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us>
To: <s=Roger McBee/o=ccmail/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us>
To: <s=Doretha Phillips/o=ccmail/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us>
To: <s=Mia Sealey/o=ccmail/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us>
Subject: Court Misses Key Point
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From: <o=rfc987/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us/dd.RFC-822=owner-spj-l(a)PSUVM.PSU.EDU>
Date: 12/5/96 10:23AM
To: <s=Meredith Beal/o=ccmail/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us>
*To: <o=rfc987/p=dell computer/a=attmail/c=us/dd.RFC-822=SPJ-L(a)PSUVM.PSU.EDU>
Subject: Court Misses Key Point

Passing this along, fyi.

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The Authors Guild
American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
The Authors Registry

December 5, 1996


In the end, the judges reached the right conclusion, but on the way
they got one major point dead wrong. That's the gist of a statement
from groups representing some 50,000 writers, commenting on a U.S.
appeals court's 8-to-5 decision last month in one of the most important
copyright cases in recent years. The appeal had been filed by a
Michigan copy shop found guilty of copyright infringement for selling
university coursepacks made up of large sections of published works
photocopied without permission.

The organizations involved are three national writers' groups -- the
Authors Guild, the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
and the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) -- and the
Authors Registry, the royalty collection and licensing agency
endorsed by more than 30 writers' groups and 95 literary agencies.
Their statement says:

"We applaud the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth
Circuit in `Princeton University Press v. Michigan Document Services,
Inc.' The court properly found that creating and selling a quickie
anthology without obtaining permission for the excerpts stretches and
bends the law's understanding of `fair use' beyond recognition. It
is, as the court said, `light years away' from what the doctrine of
`fair use' can reasonably be construed to cover.

"But we must point out that in considering incentives to produce
copyrighted works, the judges seem to have seen only one side of the
author community -- and a narrow side at that. They accepted as
representative the statement signed by 100 academic authors that they
are more interested in dissemination of their writing than in what their
work may earn. Thus, the judges ultimately came to their decision in
favor of the publisher plaintiffs by emphasizing only publishers' income
from reuse fees, ignoring authors' earnings as an incentive to write.

"But the decision misstates when it says flatly, `It is the publishers
who hold the copyrights, of course.' In fact, except for certain
types of publishing, most authors retain copyright in their works.
And regardless of who owns copyright, under contract many authors
share in subsidiary income earned by books and articles -- a 50-50
split is typical -- or retain entirely secondary rights such as the
right to license photocopying.

"If lawyers for the defense found 100 authors to say they want their
work to be freely copied because they don't write for money, we
assure the court that many, many authors would gladly testify
otherwise. As we put it in our `friend of the court' brief in this
case, `What else could account for the immediate impact of the
Authors Registry, in which over 50,000 authors are registered for
collection, accounting and payment of royalties and fees?'"

The Authors Guild
staff -at- authorsguild -dot- org

American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
75227 -dot- 1650 -at- compuserve -dot- com

Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
taa -at- bayflash -dot- stpt -dot- usf -dot- edu

The Authors Registry
registry -at- interport -dot- net

# # #

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