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From: "G. Branden Robinson" <>
To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society <>
Subject: [TUHS] copyright (was: Re: UNIX System V Release 2.2 gdts Vax-780)
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2023 20:03:31 -0500	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <20230317010331.46ilrztc4jri47v5@illithid> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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[replying to list only; and yeah, I've probably developed a COFF here]

At 2023-03-16T20:33:27-0400, Rich Salz wrote:
> > Call me naïve, but how would a foreign law be enforced in Australia?
> I didn't know the site and people in charge of it were in Australia.
> Ignorant just assuming it all revolves around us. But I suppose some
> global firm could still cause trouble, especially since Australia is a
> party to the Berne convention.

The Berne Convention on Copyright from 1886(!) is very far from the last
word on these sorts of questions.

As I understand it, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
superseded the Berne Convention in multiple respects and was in force
from after World War II until 1995.

In 1995, it was superseded by the Uruguay Round Agreements.  Also in
1995, the TRIPS agreement came into force, and the Doha Declaration
later modified some of the provisions of TRIPS.  The headline item was a
gesture in the direction of suspension of patent enforcement for
life-saving medications.  This is back when the cost of anti-retroviral
drugs for HIV/AIDS was a bad look for pharmaceutical companies that
wanted to charge more than the average sub-Saharan African country's GDP
for medicine in sufficient quantity to address the needs of their

These trade agreements are like bills in the U.S. Congress; they are not
topically controlled, and all kinds of riders and codicils gets stuck
into them all the time.  A popular theme of these was an upward ratched
on copyright durations.  In the name of "harmonization", the length of
copyright monopolies was always extended to the longest of any member
country.  The copyright cartels would then go back to their home country
legislatures (this was often the U.S.), get a copyright term extension
act passed, then impose that on the rest of the world via trade

I recommend Jessica Litman's book _Digital Copyright_ for background on
this stuff.  It is available for free download.[2]

It could also badly use a second edition.

My personal opinion is that if a copyright holder wants to "get you",
they can, in most countries of the world.  As ever, an important
question is whether it costs more to "get you" than they can extract
from you even if they give you a complete thrashing in court.  My
surmise is that copyright holders figured this out at some point prior
to 1897, which is when the first _criminal_ copyright statute was passed
in the United States.[3]  Apparently the perceived problem back then was
the unlicensed performance (presumably of plays, songs, and other
musical forms).  The advent of audio and visual recording, and of the
mimeograph machine at about the same time, seems to have shifted the
concerns of copyright holders significantly (especially for music
licensing).  Whether these technologies directly precipitated the
extension of copyright terms in 1909 (to 28 years, renewable for a total
of 56 years), I'd be curious to learn.



[3] Prior to this, copyright enforcement in the U.S. was wholly a matter
    for the civil courts.  Where, in my opinion, it should have

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  reply	other threads:[~2023-03-17  1:03 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 37+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2023-03-15 11:59 [TUHS] Re: UNIX System V Release 2.2 gdts Vax-780 Noel Chiappa
2023-03-15 21:03 ` Warren Toomey via TUHS
2023-03-15 21:08   ` Clem Cole
2023-03-15 21:15     ` Luther Johnson
2023-03-15 21:18     ` Seth Morabito
2023-03-15 21:22       ` Larry McVoy
2023-03-15 21:27         ` Clem Cole
2023-03-15 21:38           ` KenUnix
2023-03-16 23:18             ` Clem Cole
2023-03-16 23:48               ` Charles H. Sauer (he/him)
2023-03-17  1:08                 ` Steve Nickolas
2023-03-15 21:46           ` Steve Nickolas
2023-03-15 21:50         ` Luther Johnson
2023-03-15 21:56         ` steve jenkin
2023-03-15 22:15           ` Larry McVoy
2023-03-15 23:30           ` Warner Losh
2023-03-15 23:41             ` Luther Johnson
2023-03-16  0:29               ` Warner Losh
2023-03-16  0:36                 ` Rich Salz
2023-03-16  1:55                   ` G. Branden Robinson
2023-03-16 21:14                   ` Dave Horsfall
2023-03-17  0:33                     ` Rich Salz
2023-03-17  1:03                       ` G. Branden Robinson [this message]
2023-03-17  1:05                       ` segaloco via TUHS
2023-03-17  2:03                         ` G. Branden Robinson
2023-03-17  3:17                           ` Dave Horsfall
2023-03-17  3:30                             ` [TUHS] Reply-To and Mail-Followup-To (was: Re: UNIX System V Release 2.2 gdts Vax-780) G. Branden Robinson
2023-03-17 15:12                               ` [TUHS] " Pete Turnbull
2023-03-17 15:33                                 ` segaloco via TUHS
2023-03-17 16:42                                   ` Steve Nickolas
2023-03-17 18:27                                     ` Marc Donner
2023-03-16  1:15               ` [TUHS] Re: UNIX System V Release 2.2 gdts Vax-780 Larry McVoy
2023-03-16  2:14                 ` Luther Johnson
2023-03-15 23:44             ` Brad Spencer
2023-03-16  4:37         ` Dave Horsfall
2023-03-15 23:56   ` [TUHS] Re: OSF/1.0 Sources Joseph Holsten
2023-03-17  2:28   ` [TUHS] Re: UNIX System V Warren Toomey via TUHS

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