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June 19, 2008 4:54 PM   Subscribe

"Happy Birthday to You" is the best-known and most frequently sung song in the world. Many - including Justice Breyer in his dissent in Eldred v. Ashcroft - have portrayed it as an unoriginal work that is hardly worthy of copyright protection, but nonetheless remains under copyright. Yet close historical scrutiny reveals both of those assumptions to be false. [Full pdf here.] [via]

Over two hundred unpublished documents found in six archives across the United States have been made available on a website that will serve as an online appendix to this article.
posted by dersins (57 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, all those brackets and italics are some kind of ugly. Sorry.
posted by dersins at 4:57 PM on June 19, 2008


Interesting! I always love how a person can say "oh, that [ubiquitous creative work] is unoriginal and unimpressive", yet be unable to create such a thing themselves. Hey Justice Breyer, you know what's easy? Judging. Yep, we do it here every day. You don't deserve your paycheck.
posted by davejay at 5:07 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Happy Birthday to You.
posted by ericb at 5:20 PM on June 19, 2008


Summary: Everything you know [about "Happy Birthday to You"] is wrong.
posted by pmurray63 at 5:20 PM on June 19, 2008


“Happy Birthday is such a ubiquitous tune that it sounds like it might be folk music, but it has the copyright protection secured by Ken Guilmartin's grandfather, John F. Sengstack. First known as ‘Good Morning to You,’ the tune was published in 1893 in a book for Sunday school teachers, and then people started using the tune for the ‘Happy Birthday’ words. Sengstack's Clayton F. Summy Company found the tune in its portfolio and published a copyrighted instrumental arrangement, by its employee Preston Ware Orem, in 1935.

John Sengstack passed the business on to his son, David, the brother of Ken Guilmartin's mother Joan, a psychiatric social worker. Known as Summy Birchard and then as the Birch Tree Group, this company published the innovative Frances Clark piano library, which had been developed by Clark and Louise Goss at the New School of Music (now located on Route 27 in Kingston). David Sengstack moved the business from Evanston, Illinois, to Princeton in 1978. He had also acquired the rights to all Suzuki materials sold outside of Japan.

In 1990 David Sengstack sold the Birch Tree Group to Warner Brothers, not for the $25 million that has been reported, but, he says, for $15 million. ‘We were the last of the old small companies to be picked up for a pretty good price,’ says Sengstack, who suggests the Happy Birthday tune was worth about $5 million the Suzuki rights were also worth $5 million.

Sengstack, who has five children plus his nephew Guilmartin, says he distributed those proceeds to family members and used $1.5 million to establish a non-profit foundation. With his background in Suzuki training, he was interested in promoting awareness of the importance of early childhood development. Yet his 1993 attempt to use his own and the foundation's funds to publish an early childhood development newsletter did not prove viable. Meanwhile his daughter, Lynn Sengstack, represented the family interests at Warner Brothers for a while and is now general manager for her cousin's enterprise, Music Together.”*
October 20, 1988: Put a Song in Your Portfolio: 'Happy Birthday' Is for Sale
posted by ericb at 5:29 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Bruce Anderson noted in 'Beyond Measure,' his excellent article on the 'Happy Birthday' phenomenon:
The next time you hear 'Happy Birthday' in a movie — and now that you’re listening, it won’t be long — stay for the credits at the end of the movie. Think about how Hollywood would love the story of the Hill sisters, two Southern kindergarten teachers who write a song that they only hope will be a useful teacher’s aid. Instead, the song is a hit that never goes away. It is sung hundreds of millions of times each year, a musical juggernaut that tops the efforts of Tin Pan Alley’s best. Appropriately, then, film credits are the one place left where Mildred and Patty Hill still get their due."*
posted by ericb at 5:36 PM on June 19, 2008


davejay: You're putting words into Breyer's mouth. He didn't say "unimpressive" (as if the melody wasn't *beautiful* or *complex* enough to deserve copyright protection), he simply said "unoriginal". Now, he may be wrong about that particular point, but as far as not deserving his paycheck? Hell, they oughtta double his paycheck simply for being "an intellectual leader of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, and particularly as a counter to the conservative Justice Antonin Scalia." [wiki].

But hey, maybe Breyer, who started his law career as a young man during the Kennedy administration, was just a little jealous that, all those years ago, Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday" to JFK, and not to him.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:36 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The other day I was with friends and one of them, it was his birthday, so we naturally launched into an impromptu verse of that song. I got to the second line and it just caught in my throat. There were a lot of us, so I just smiled as everybody else continued singing, but I couldn't...

All this legal crud over whether or not the song can legally be sung extemporaneously without someone putting out their hand? Even if the legal answer eventually becomes yes, or IS yes by now, or not, I don't care.

The shine of the song is gone. I'd just as soon never hear it sung again, and damn anyone who has perpetuated this tragedy on one of the most feel-good songs of the 20th century. How dare anyone try to lay claim of ownership on this song?

Those who still cling to Walt's coat tails can keep the mouse as long as they want. I don't care. By now, "Happy Birthday To Me" was meant to belong to humanity. I hope whoever ends up with proof of ownership, gets nothing for their trouble.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:41 PM on June 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wonder who has the copyright on the "You smell like a monkey and you look like one too" version.
posted by amyms at 5:50 PM on June 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


Copyrights would be really important if anyone under 30 cared about them.
posted by mullingitover at 5:54 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm 40 and I don't care about them.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:57 PM on June 19, 2008


Now? Now? Okay.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:59 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wonder who has the copyright on the "You smell like a monkey and you look like one too" version.

I wonder this about the 'Batman smells' version of Jingle Bells.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:07 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wonder this about the 'Batman smells' version of Jingle Bells.

My brothers and I own that copyright.

We also own the copyright to 'Jingle Bells, Santa Smells'©.
posted by ericb at 6:21 PM on June 19, 2008


I was recently ( + unfortunately) in TGI Fridays for the birthday lunch of a friend. One of our lunch party had brought along a birthday cake and had given it to the waiter to bring out for a surprise dessert. After eating lunch, the entire waitstaff appeared with the cake. We, of course broke into Happy Birthday. The waitstaff, as one LOUD voice, overpowered our singing with a different (and very crappy) birthday "song". Clearly, management was NOT going to pay royalties on H.B.

We, of course, threw caution to the wind and sang H.B. once the staff, and their fake "birthday song" left the area.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:31 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the article: "it is almost certainly no longer under copyright"

How is there any f'ing question about this? The tune was written in 1893, with a "copyrighted instrumental arrangement" in 1935. 1935. Why the hell should this still be under copyright??
posted by inigo2 at 6:38 PM on June 19, 2008


Our family fortune is based on royalties from "Skip Around the Room..."©.
posted by ericbop at 6:39 PM on June 19, 2008


All this legal crud over whether or not the song can legally be sung extemporaneously without someone putting out their hand?

Perhaps a little perspective is in order here. The song is sung "extemporaneously" thousands of times a day (at least) all around the world in private birthday celebrations. But, surprise! No lawyer SWAT teams are gonna burst through anyone's living room window waving contracts and demanding payments from mom and dad while little Johnny cries into his cake. What we're talking about here is when this song (like any other song under copyright protection) is used in big-budget movies from companies like Disney and Time/Warner and so on: movies that often make big fat piles of money. Some sliver of that money, happily, goes to music copyright owners, in such cases where their copyrighted music is used, like in, say, Uncle Walt's lil' ol' multi-million-dollar-budget movie.

On preview, however, R. Mutt's TGI Friday's story above would indicate that those lawyer SWAT teams might be a little closer on the horizon than I think...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:43 PM on June 19, 2008


It seems pretty obvious why there's never been a legal challenge to invalidating the copyright claim of 'Happy Birthday' - there is money to be made in defending the copyrights but no money to be made in attacking them. Who would pay for the courtroom work to get this effectively put into the public domain? TGI Fridays can sing their crappy song for free.

The rights holders are, however, pure extortionists. If you can recoup the value of a patent in 17 years, then why not copyrights are well?
posted by GuyZero at 6:43 PM on June 19, 2008


People... people!

Older Angelenos know that this is the real birthday song (starts 1:43)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:48 PM on June 19, 2008


1935. Why the hell should this still be under copyright??

Whether or not it should be, it may still be; copyrights can extend for ridiculous lengths. US copyright law is kind of a hairy mess for works created before 1978. According to this site, if a work created in 1935 was published with a copyright notice and its copyrights were renewed, it would pass into the public domain in 2030.
posted by Jpfed at 6:54 PM on June 19, 2008


Re Breyer's "unoriginal" comment (from the Wikipedia link)...

There were a number of popular and substantially similar nineteenth-century songs that predated the Hill sisters' composition, including Horace Waters' "Happy Greetings to All"; "Good Night to You All", also from 1858; "A Happy New Year to All," from 1875; and "A Happy Greeting to All," published 1885.[10] The copyright for both the words and the music of "Good Morning to All" has since expired and both are now a part of the public domain.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:59 PM on June 19, 2008


davejay: You're putting words into Breyer's mouth. He didn't say "unimpressive" (as if the melody wasn't *beautiful* or *complex* enough to deserve copyright protection), he simply said "unoriginal".

I just read the opinion, and he doesn't even say that:
Would [the endlessly self-perpetuating nature of the publishers' claim] justify continuing to extend copyrights indefinitely, say, for those granted to F. Scott Fitzgerald or his lesser known contemporaries? Would it not, in principle, justify continued protection of the works of Shakespeare, Melville, Mozart, or perhaps Salieri, Mozart's currently less popular contemporary? Could it justify yet further extension of the copyright on the song Happy Birthday to You (melody first published in 1893, song copyrighted after litigation in 1935), still in effect and currently owned by a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner?
Breyer isn't saying that it's undeserving of protection because it's unoriginal; he's saying that it's undeserving of protection because it's 110 years old. And Brauneis - who, incidentally, clerked for Breyer - is saying the exact same thing: his argument is that the 1949 extension of the 1935 copyright is an ex post facto farce that conveniently elides the originality of the 1893 publication.

I don't know how the abstract managed to make it sound like Brauneis is arguing in favor of copyright extension (and taking potshots at Breyer), but I do know that GWU could use a new editor.
posted by dyoneo at 7:02 PM on June 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


No lawyer SWAT teams are gonna burst through anyone's living room window waving contracts and demanding payments from mom and dad while little Johnny cries into his cake.

Actually, that happened to me :(


Anyway, yeah restaurants generally don't sing "Happy Birthday" to the traditional melody... they do the "yelling it out military style" thing usually. Also, in The Corporation, they mentioned that the copyright holders wanted 10k from the filmmakers to air footage of a little girl's birthday party with sound.

What if the "Happy Birthday" people got together with RIAA and started prosecuting people who had illegally downloaded copies of the song to their iPods! Catastrophe!!!
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:07 PM on June 19, 2008


I wonder who has the copyright on the "You smell like a monkey and you look like one too" version.

ZachsMind.
posted by Artw at 7:13 PM on June 19, 2008


For anyone who doesn't know already, the episode "Intellectual Property" of Sports Night revolves around the unexpected litigative presence of the representatives of Mildrid and Patty Hill.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2008


Also, in The Corporation, they mentioned that the copyright holders wanted 10k from the filmmakers to air footage of a little girl's birthday party with sound.

Truly one of the worst films of ant kind I've ever seen. What a lame, facile, weak-minded faux-documentary. Copyright holders are entitled to charge for the use of their work. The end. It's a little bizarre that people would shed tears for multi-zillion dollar movie studios paying to license it, just like they do for EVERY OTHER SONG IN EVERY MOVIE THEY MAKE.

Or if you don't want to license music, hire someone to write something original. Actually, a lot of films now do you just that: they use "fake" birthday songs. "The 40 year old virgin" is one example that springs to mind.

Just because it's very common and you may have, in the past, wrongly assumed it was in the public domain, does not make the copyright any less valid or "wrong."

Also, this has by now firmly established itself as one of those "did you know?" things that EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD ALREADY KNOWS.

posted by drjimmy11 at 8:36 PM on June 19, 2008


("any" kind that is)
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:38 PM on June 19, 2008


Wow, Dr Jimmy, bet you capitalize Kleenex too.
posted by klangklangston at 9:06 PM on June 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


You can sing Happy Birthday in your house or at a private party, just as you can sing Gimme Shelter in your shower. (...or in your car, or on your tractor, or around the campfire, or on the Up escalator at Neiman Marcus, or naked in James Garner's garage...)

This is a private use. No scumsucking (etc., etc.) lawyers, or scumsucking (etc., etc.) corporations are going to stick their hands out for your cash and no SWAT team is going to break down your door, rough you up and haul you and your loved ones off to jail in a smeared wake of frosting and birthday cake on the walls.

But "public uses" that can be considered commercial uses are another story. A discotheque or nightclub or concert venue that makes its money (or makes some of its money) from broadcasting or otherwise supplying copyrighted music to the public generally must pay nominal performance licensing fees from performing rights societies (i.e. ASCAP) for this commercial use of the copyrighted songs. Some venues like small bars and restaurants are so small or so off the radar that ASCAP hardly monitors them because it’s not worth the trouble, but places like TFIG are not such venues. Which is why TJIF employees are likely instructed not to sing "Happy Birthday.”
posted by applemeat at 9:07 PM on June 19, 2008


How is there any f'ing question about this? The tune was written in 1893, with a "copyrighted instrumental arrangement" in 1935. 1935. Why the hell should this still be under copyright??

Actually, in countries ratifying the Berne Convention (nearly all, in other words), the date before which a work may be assumed to be in the public domain is 1923.

Whether or not it's right, it's currently the international standard.

Anyway, I just wish this would lead to more popularity for the Birthday Dirge.
posted by dhartung at 10:07 PM on June 19, 2008


My original point is that the very argument has caused "The Happy Birthday Song" to lose any appeal to me whatsoever. When I was a kid, I had nothing but positive vibes and happy memories about it. Today, it has become the poster child for something depraved and wrong about humanity.

If'n I wuz god, things'd be fuckin' differnt. Copyright as it exists would disappear immediately, and this would be retroactive.

Yes if someone makes something they should be entitled to profit from it. Of course. Without question. However, there should come a point where a creative work stops being a commodity and starts being something more. I'm not saying that should happen in a matter of months or even decades. A CENTURY though? I think the line should get drawn at least about there. It's NOT drawn there currently, cuz the people behind the mouse ears want to cling to them until time ends. So they keep pushing that line back.

Disney hasn't done anything remotely slick with Mickey Mouse since the Sorcerer's Apprentice. I will never be god. The people who currently own Disney will see to that. They'd personally have me crucified. Why? Cuz Walt died in 1966, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

If an individual creates something, he should be able to maintain the ability to defend his ownership for his life, and it should not be made overtly difficult for him or her to defend their claim if they made it. Upon their death, they can leave it to someone or some firm in their will if they so choose. If the person who made the whatever doesn't take the time to protect their ownership by their death, it should immediately revert to the public domain.

Before their death, if they need the money, they should be able to sell that claim of ownership to another individual or firm. That is their right. The sum would be between them and the purchaser, and it should remain legally binding for no longer than forty years after the death of the originator.

This brings me back to Walt. If'n I were god, The Disney Corporation's claim on the mouse ears would have ceased to exist forty years after Walt Disney's death. Since he died in 1966, the end of corporate ownership would have taken place two years ago, in 2006. That's what I mean by retroactive. If'n I wuz god, the entire foundation of The Disney Empire would begin to crumble. My response to that? GOOD.

This ownership to a second party should not be presumed as indefinite, and it shouldn't be something that can then be bought and sold and passed around like a loaf of bread. Or actually, think of it as a loaf of bread. After awhile that loaf of bread's gonna get moldy if someone doesn't freakin' EAT the damned thing. If you didn't make the thing yourself, your ownership is precious and tenuous, and should require your constant vigilance and attention. You should actively be using the whatever it is, and be willing to defend your ownership regularly in court when necessary.

If said firm sells it to yet another firm, the clock doesn't get turned back. Forty years after the originator's death: that's it. Nothing short of bringing the originator back to life should change that. Since these secondary firms didn't actually create the work themselves, they shouldn't be able to lay eternal claim. After a GENERATION has gone by, then it should fall into the public domain, so others can enjoy it without constantly paying the corporation again and again for the same shit rereleased in a different package, and so these gifts to humanity from previous generations can be used to help create new derivative works that will infuse renewed interest in its past and help the culture build from its past to its future. Everything from rap music to collegiate and community theater, and stuff that we haven't even thought of yet cuz we haven't had the freedom to explore the possibilities for the past couple centuries.

Also, the secondary firm has to actually utilize the product in question. They can't just claim legal copyright and then lock it in a vault for twenty years (*ahem*disney*ahem). If they're not gonna use it, keeping it from humanity is just flat selfish and stupid.

Use it or lose it. Shit or git off the pot.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:23 PM on June 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Your comment is a good start on a full-length novel, ZachsMind . When you finish and publish it, will you copyright it?
posted by Cranberry at 10:50 PM on June 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


My original point is that the very argument has caused "The Happy Birthday Song" to lose any appeal to me whatsoever.

What does its artisitic appeal have to do with its copyright status?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:53 PM on June 19, 2008


When you finish and publish it, will you copyright it?

If you'd actually read what he wrote, you might have realized that your snark doesn't make you look quite as clever as you thought it would when you wrote it.
posted by effbot at 12:14 AM on June 20, 2008


This one is much better.
posted by jbickers at 3:08 AM on June 20, 2008


...restaurants generally don't sing "Happy Birthday" to the traditional melody... they do the "yelling it out military style" thing usually.

I hate that. Those restaurants don't seem to realize what their cadence-calling dreck does to the appetites of their patrons.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:36 AM on June 20, 2008


I believe that most of Disney's claim on the mouse, valid or not, is that the image constitutes a large part of their identity, and deserves the protection of, say, a corporate logo.
posted by rokusan at 5:19 AM on June 20, 2008


Deep within the womb of time,
a creature thus be born
The seed of life is united with
the egg of tyranny
Gestates forth from within the womb of life
for three-quarter and nigh a year
The creature thus be born!
The creature thus be formed!
And ye of years [insert age here] bells will chime!
When the heavens open up
and drink from the silver cup
The creature thus be born!
And blow the magic horn!
To alert the spirit deep within the cycle of life.
The creature has begun it's journey deep forlorn,
upon this day which he be formed
In the sea of mucus the spirit rides down from the mountain
and unites with the creature in the womb
A holy union, dark mortality, until the dark mortality
breaks the chain of life
The creature thus be born
And every year raineth down the celebratory tears
A celebration of the years
from mere mortal sky
- Master Shake
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:34 AM on June 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


You know, I've always wondered why individual rights-holders aren't incensed by the idiotic strongarming that Disney, the RIAA, et al. have made their bread and butter in the last couple of decades. When the most commonly sung song in the history of the world is protected from being used freely in movies where its absence is culturally notable, something is very wrong, and the response to it is obvious: we get a handful of Doctorows, and an entire generation of Americans with zero respect for any copyright protections. This creates the weird fight-the-man/I-bet-you-capitalize-Kleenex divide that characterizes the debate, which is a total waste of resources on everyone's part--people would be more apt to respect copyright, and artists trying to make a living off their own intellectual property would have a much easier time, if policy weren't being set by these juggernauts with too much legislative sway.
posted by Mayor West at 5:47 AM on June 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


Mayor West nails it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:05 AM on June 20, 2008


According to this site, if a work created in 1935 was published with a copyright notice and its copyrights were renewed, it would pass into the public domain in 2030.

Luckily we've got Sonny Bono and Disney to make sure that copyrights are extended again long before that date gets close.
posted by inigo2 at 6:50 AM on June 20, 2008


'What day is today?
It's Nibbler's Birthday,
What a great day for a Birthday,
Let's all have some cake.'

Fry: 'And you smell like one too.'
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:12 AM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, inigo2, technically we don't have Sonny Bono anymore.....

Also, ZachsMind could totally use Creative Commons licensing for his novel, duh.
posted by emjaybee at 8:16 AM on June 20, 2008


Just wanted to say I've taken classes from the author of this article and he is a pretty interesting guy.
posted by Falconetti at 8:40 AM on June 20, 2008


Well, inigo2, technically we don't have Sonny Bono anymore.....

Okay, okay.... Zombie Sonny Bono then.
posted by inigo2 at 9:38 AM on June 20, 2008


There should be a worldwide contest for a new copyright-free birthday song. Something along the lines of Maddin's The Saddest Music in the World would be awesome!
posted by troybob at 9:57 AM on June 20, 2008


argh. I can't believe the grand-daughter of the guy that invented the happy birthday song runs Music Together, which publishes the music and class I used to take my daughter to. I figured everything in the class was mostly folk songs, but it sounds like they own the music rights and come from a long history of music rights. ick.
posted by mathowie at 11:16 AM on June 20, 2008


It's one of the most unpleasant experiences, that happy birthday to you song. Much like the US national anthem. I don't mind being spared it whenever possible.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 11:23 AM on June 20, 2008


happy happy birthday from all of us to you we wish it was our birthday so we could party too

HEY!

(Wonder who owns that?)
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:45 AM on June 20, 2008


Oh, wait. It's actually
appy happy birthday from Applebee's to you we wish it was our birthday so we could party too

Someone needs to collect all the restaurant faux happy birthday songs.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:48 AM on June 20, 2008


Someone needs to collect all the restaurant faux happy birthday songs.

I dunno about restaurant songs, but my dad brought down from his childhood to ours a medley of faux happy birthday songs from two sources: One, successive incarnations of a Sunday School songbook, and two, the Big John and Sparkie radio show. These assorted spurious songs are bookended by two choruses of the real deal, the opening one being straightforward and the closing one sung with great drama, gratuitous fermatas, and (usually) two or three part harmony. The whole thing takes three or four minutes to perform, which is very nearly long enough for a birthday candle to burn down into the cake and vanish. And if it's performed in the company of aunts, uncles, and/or cousins, a small text-critical discussion will erupt, because no two families have preserved quite identical contents or sequence and because we are all pretty much turbodorks. I'm partial to the version manhandled by certain cousins of mine to include an extremely up-tempo verse with stomping and clapping.
posted by eritain at 10:01 PM on June 20, 2008


The Olive Garden cleverly circumvents the Happy Birthday Copyright Kerfuffle by, amazingly enough, using the tune of another copyrighted song:
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
It's your birthday...
posted by Spatch at 5:30 AM on June 22, 2008


If I wrote a novel, I wouldn't be able to give it away, so the copyright thing is kinda moot. It's not like anyone would ever pay me to be a writer. The Creative Commons thing is okay. I've read it and tho I'm no expert, sounds okay. I'd prefer something even simpler than that, but it's better than anything else I've seen thus far.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:55 AM on June 22, 2008


It's not like anyone would ever pay me to be a writer.

Heh. And were it not for copyright laws as we've known them, very few people over the past couple hundred years would've been paid as writers, either. And it's a damn strange thing, but, for some odd reason, lots of folks just wouldn't spend years writing a novel if they didn't have some reasonable expectation that their work might be protected by copyright, and that they might therefore see a little coin at the end of the project.

I guess it's no coincidence that so many of the most vociferously anti-copyright people also happen to be people who don't depend on or need any sort of copyright protection in order to continue in their chosen profession (writing, songwriting, etc.) and therefore to, you know, pay the bills.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:34 AM on June 22, 2008


Having said that, ZachsMind, let me say that I do agree with some of the ideas you put forth in your lengthy comment upthread, about living artists seeing benefits from their work, but not necessarily having the lengthy copyright periods that now exist. So my point above was not solely addressed to you, but was more toward the general "all-copyright-is-evil, period" contingent.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:39 AM on June 22, 2008


Copyright as it exists today is evil, period.

There are some things (Creative Commons for example) which endeavor to fix that.

I agree that artist's efforts should be protected, or at the very least they should be fairly compensated for their work. I don't see how current copyright laws guarantee that across the board. I doubt my tune would change if I suddenly got a book deal.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:26 AM on June 22, 2008


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