MPAA & RIAA would love this.

Congress may take books, musical compositions and other works out of the public domain, where they can be freely used and adapted, and grant them copyright status again, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

In a 6-2 ruling, the court said that, just because material enters the public domain, it is not “territory that works may never exit.” (.pdf)
Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Ginsburg said “some restriction on expression is the inherent and intended effect of every grant of copyright.” But the top court, with Justice Elena Kagan recused, said Congress’ move to re-copyright the works to comport with an international treaty was more important.
In dissent, Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito said the legislation goes against the theory of copyright and “does not encourage anyone to produce a single new work.” Copyright, they noted, was part of the Constitution to promote the arts and sciences.

  1. Sam says:

    It’s sad that all government decisions have money as their motivation for action.

    Who gets the royalities from future sales of the Bible, Gutenburg’s descendents?

  2. #02--bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist AND long time member of the Junior Justice League says:

    In a vacuum, the ruling makes sense: simply to be a good member state in the community of civilized states. We recognize their laws that are not conflicting with our own, as they likewise recognize ours. Trade offs. Tit for tat.

    The Guttenburg Bible, or the King James, or Shakespeare are good examples. The article doesn’t mention how many more years the copyrights will be extended. I assume at some point they will extinguish?

    Net/net as USA “used to be” an IP powerhouse, USA should get more back from such arrangements than we loose. I assume we get the shaft however and its a one way street for all these dag gum foreners. If crafty, our multi-national corporations will get all the benefits while the taxpayers pick up the offsetting liabilities? Thats the way capitalism is “supposed” to work.

    • soundwash says:

      sorry mate.. i think all “IP” and copyright should be abolished.

      i’m really getting tired of all this utter ip/copyright BS.

      -ALL knowledge should be free.

      -and we should all not be allowed to contribute to society until everyone has basic energy, engineering, science and perhaps, socioeconomic skills/degrees -along with full knowledge of humanity’s history and how the soul/spirit /spirituality works..

      (and the real sciences et al -not this backwards BS the current scientific/religious
      dictatorship has everyone believing is “the way things work”)

      there is no excuse for having a planet full of ignorant morons from the cradle to the grave.

      yes, i like to live in a vacuum of my own design. -so sue me.


      (sorry mate, havent finished my first cup of coffee yet..)

      • #07--bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist AND long time member of the Junior Justice League says:

        soundwash==you are always provocative. Yes, I have already intimated I also favor no IP rights at all.

        Pro’s and Con’s to all we do.

  3. soundwash says:


    I think its time someone send all the lawyers to the bottom of the sea.. as they are the ONLY ones that will truly benefit from this idiocy.

    matter a fact. .lets just port every friggin lawyer on the planet to another galaxy.. prolly cut the amount of law-lunacy running rampant by 99%

    if any politicians protest, -they can join them.


    • msbpodcast says:

      We’ve become a government
      • OF the thousandaires (the 99%, that would be me and thee,)
      • BY the millionaires (the 1%, that would be the extremely insular privileged overlords and bosses,)
      • FOR the billionaires (the 12,400 individuals identified by the IRS as the people who count (though they don’t really count as they hire some thousandaires to run machines to do that.)

      As a member of the 99% I say: “Fuck ’em where they breathe…

  4. Roy Bean says:

    Manila. Rope.

  5. Ah_Yea says:

    Ok, here is what it really means, hacking through all the legalize.
    A) Congress sets copyright limits, not legal precedent.
    B) We have now fully joined the Berne Convention, which means that we honor other countries copyright terms and term limits instead of the limits set by our legal system.
    C) This also means that other member countries have to obey our copyright terms as well.

    What this really gives is the ability of Disney and Co. to extend the current life + 70 year extended term to the international arena.

    If congress decides to extend the copyright term to life + 1,000 years, it can do so eliminating the public domain process entirely and enforcing this internationally.

    Goodby public domain!

  6. orchidcup says:

    The question is, who is claiming ownership of those works that are currently public domain?

    Is it Google?

    Can I grab what I want from the public domain and copyright it now?

    • orchidcup says:

      Never mind. The court’s ruling applies to foreign works that are public domain in this country.

      We should abolish copyrights and intellectual property rights entirely.

      Then nobody will have any incentive to create anything new with the expectation of monetary reward.

      Creators of new works should be content with the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing they have contributed to the advancement of human arts.

  7. #11--bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist AND long time member of the Junior Justice League says:

    It will never end- – – – – -until the next revolution:

  8. LibertyLover says:

    Interesting tidbit:

    “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”

    US Constitution, Article I, Section 8

    Notice the “Authors and Inventors” clause. Is Life + 99 years really benefiting the author or inventor (such as Walt Disney, the man) at that point?

    I’ve finally leaned completely over into the “corporations are not people” camp. Been leaning there for awhile but this pushed me down.

    How do you kill a corporation?

    • Sling Shot says:

      How do you kill a corporation?

      Probably by attacking its revenue stream (equivalent to a lion going for an animal’s air stream). Hang on long enough to kill it or put it in a non-recoverable death spiral.

      Problem is, it’s David against Goliath. And Goliath has the support of its even bigger brother, the government.

      Unfortunately, “too big to fail” also means “too big to kill”.

  9. Anonymous says:

    … And the rich get richer off the work of other people.

    What else is new?

    Do you think the U.S. Supreme Court is somehow immune from political scandal and coercion just because those assholes are appointed for life – and never have to be elected? Do you think any group of lawyers will do ever the right thing when money is involved?! THINK AGAIN!

    Promoting American values means being FAIR and removing materials from the public domain is NOT FAIR! But could you possibly expect a group of lawyers to understand that?

    • msbpodcast says:

      They are lawyers.

      They demand the clarity of a i>faith in a world of the uncertainty of physics. (They never entertain the possibility of the existence of a generalized uncertainty principle.)

      They spin tales out of the air that demand that we not reflect on the origin of the word law.

      Law has its root in the Latin term legere which means to choose.

      The law merely and literally means the choices we make in order to live with other.

      That’s part of why I firmly believe that taking up the law as a profession should be left up to everybody but lawyers.

      It requires something that is beaten out of non-lawyers in order for them to become lawyers, I refer to common sense.

  10. ECA says:

    you want to take the OLD OLD OLD movies, in B&W and send them out to make money..

    NOT a remake/update/re-creation of the original…
    Any GOOD reason why?
    NO artists are living that created it. NO 10 Copyrights to PAY..
    No artist to pay, no directors, no DEAD corps of the past…
    To make MORE MONEY, on air.

    So you take the old RUDOLF and clean it up and release it AGAIN..

    But who wants to Watch a B&W DRAGNET??

  11. msbpodcast says:

    This is a copy of an email on PIPA/SOPA I send to every senator and congress-critter I could get an email adress for: (for example–nj-representative)

    SOPA/PIPA are actually attempts to get the enforcement mechanism government caught up in an intercine war between the 14 major labels represented by the RIAA and the few remaining movie studios represented by the MPAA against the thousands of indie labels and producers because the discovery and distribution of content no longer depends on the old guard intermediary “gate keepers”.

    It costs virtually nothing to distribute media as a file over the internet so the indie label or studio is no longer at a disadvantage when getting an artist’s content to their readers/audience/viewers.

    The old guard, as represented by the RIAA and the MPAA, are TERRIFIED of what is happening to their old business model, their influence and their clout.

    They are not required anymore and they’re standing on the shore, in increasingly wet shoes and socks, yelling at the tide to stop.

    Its pathetic really.

    Stop trying to shore up, defend and enforce an outdated business model.

    The future is one without the RIAA and the MPAA as their clients keep getting decimated by their own successes.

    If there was such a crying need for PIPA and SOPA why would Louis C.K. be making a million, and counting, in profit from releasing his comedy show over the internet, without any form of DRM, entirely without the help of the broadcasters.

    How much would he have earned from an HBO special? Ten thousand for one nights work?

    I’m sure that the viewership ends being sold for more money than that. Look at their advertising rates?

    They NEED Louis C.K. He no longer needs them.

    I’m only going to say one word about the record industry: iTunes.

    The iTunes Music Store has earned well over a billion dollars for Apple distributing songs over the internet at 99 cents a pop. It is now the single largest music distributor on the planet.

    Amazon is not far behind.

    That Tower records has gone bankrupt during the same time should tell you the way the business has actually gone.

    They are trying to buy your vote in congress and the senate to stay in business to keep on paying the artists peanuts while their income keeps rising.

    SOPA/PIPA are lame ducks from dying industries.

    • t0llyb0ng says:

      Most of what you say is true but proofreading is so important:

      an intercine war sb internecine
      gatekeepers is one word
      one nights work sb one night’s work

  12. msbpodcast says:

    My question to Mittens Romney is this: “If a corporation is a person, then how come I can’t have its family over for drinks?

    I don’t mean its board of directors or employees, they’re people and they change, I mean the actual corporation and its relatives.

    I have created several corporations in my time and I have killed them all.

    If corporations are people that makes me a mass murderer.

    Why am I still walking the streets?

    Who killed Lehman Brothers?

    Why is that person still walking the streets?

    Why is Kodak not put on a ventilator?

    Does McDonald’s have to go to the bathroom?

    More to the point, does McDonald’s ever have to eat its own food? (I’m sure their board doesn’t eat there. Yuck…)

  13. deowll says:

    Patents and copyright have become the preferred method for people and organizations without merit to get a free ride by monopolizing the achievements of past generations slowing the advancement of just about everything.

  14. Nobody says:

    Will everyone in the USA go back to speaking apache when the copyright on English is returned to it’s rightfull owners?

  15. Glenn E. says:

    Let’s face it. The only reason most published works “fell” into the public domain, is because it cost too much to keep printing or pressing (vinyl) them into shelf products, or reserve theater time for exhibition (film). Tv and radio helped extend the profitable exploitation of music, beyond it previous allotted market time. Then mailorder extended it a bit more. And then video and music sales and shops, added more time. And now the internet, has given virtually all published works new and extended life, and profit. So little surprise that some corporations want that profit. Especially as it’s far cheaper to reprint or remaster something, than it is to finance fresh material to be created. And the original authors of most public domained works are often dead. And hadn’t planned for any estate to claim royalties beyond their lives. So only the salaries of the top media brass, and a few skilled workers, need be considered. The new form of digital media, costs much less to distribute on demand, than it once did in hard copy form. Fewer middleman distributors, sitting on unsold inventory, etc.

    Reclaiming works from the cemetery of public domain (as the profiteers consider it) , has nothing to do with “protecting” anything for its authors, or posterity. It just making new cash cows for the media corporations. And the Congress and Supreme Court isn’t looking out for the interests of the public, just a handful of powerful media magnates.

    If they have their way. Every clickable link on any webpage, will cost you money. Even the adverts. You’ll just get automatically billed, the moment your browser starts up. Because it must be accessing something that’s copyrighted, right? Even if it cost only a penny. Think those Google logos cost nothing to make? More and more, I’m seeing websites that need a subscription setup first, before you can access anything there. Paying for it will be next. Factoring out the poor, who can’t afford a paypal account. I see people at out local libraries, looking for jobs online, with the libraries internet access. If they had to pay to access the online information too. How soon do you think they’d be just giving up on climbing the economic ladder?

    Copyrighting everything, reviving expired copyrights, and having the feds protect it all like going after drug cartels. Will eventually lead to much less middle class, and far more poor, and about the same of the very rich (only richer). As everything expressible becomes a profitable commodity. Even your tax forms.

  16. JimD, Boston, MA says:


  17. Jimmy Copens says:

    I thought you might be interested in the new video just released for the single, I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK.

    We couldn’t have done it without Public Domain.


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