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Re: CLUEBAT: copyrights, infringement, violations, and legality

On Wed, Jan 29, 2003 at 11:45:23PM +1100, Paul Hampson wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:16:24PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> ...
> > If one is unconvinced that copyrights are fundamentally different from
> > natural rights, one may wish to perform a thought experiment.  Do you
> > believe that the ancient Greeks and medieval Europeans had a right to
> > life and free exercise of religion?  Was it possible for a Greek to be
> > murdered, or a medieval man or woman wrongly persecuted by the
> > Inquisition for his or her heretical religious beliefs?  Now, then, do
> > you think Euclid held a copyright in the _Elements_?  Did the apostles
> Bad example. The elements are not an expression of an idea. They are the
> matter themselves... Of course, the US Patent Office would probably have
> granted him a patent on them...

OT:  A small note for those not trained in the history of
Mathematics: Euclids "The Elements" is a famous book in which he
introduces the then novel concepts of using purely logical
mathematical proofs to create a complete set of mathematical
theorems from a small set of axioms (Euclids 5 axioms).  This
was all done for the field of Geometry in a flat plane, and for
almost two millennia all mathematical proofs were referred to
using words such as "geometric".  A problem he never solved was
how to "square the circle", that is to prove the formula for the
area of a circle and the value of pi entirely within the toolset
defined by "The Elements" (actually, it was proven impossible to
implement about 2000 years later...).

If he wrote it today, he would have no problem getting
copyright, patent (ignoring the "no scientific methods" clause),
trademark and all sorts of other protections from most
governments.  Its a good hypothetical test case for the
universal applicability of so called "IP" theories.

> > of Jesus hold a copyright in the gospels?  If so, when did these
> The Evangelists? Of course. If I write a book, isn't it mine to control
> who reads it?
> > copyrights expire, or have they?  If they haven't, who controls them
> Of course they should. Once the author (or authors) are dead, then time
> should run out. Copyright isn't an asset to be bought and sold, it's a
> right.
> > now, and by what right?  Should the Roman Catholic Church have sued
> > Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the other Protestant leaders for
> > copyright infringement?  Do these questions sound ridiculous to you?  If
> > so, then you shouldn't speak in terms of "illegal" copyright
> > "violations".

Actually, there is a famous piece of case law here (in Denmark):

In the mid 1970-es, hippie filmmaker, artist and provocateur
Jens J. Thorsen announced his intention to make a movie about
the Sex Life of Jesus Christ (nothing less).  He initially got a
grant from the Danish National Film Institute to finance it, but
after a lot of public outcry from the Roman Catholic Church and
other Christian groups around the world, they withdrew the grant
and used as a legal excuse, that the movie would violate the
never expiring "moral rights" part of the copyright with respect
to the copyright interests of the 4 Evangelists.  JJT sued for
broken promises, etc.  The legal battles went on for many years,
until finally at some time during the 1990-es he won back the
grant to make the movie (don't remember the particulars of the
decision).  But by then he was a lot older, times had changed
and the movie he ended up making was an unimportant flop.



This message is hastily written, please ignore any unpleasant wordings,
do not consider it a binding commitment, even if its phrasing may
indicate so. Its contents may be deliberately or accidentally untrue.
Trademarks and other things belong to their owners, if any.

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