Visa fullständig version : Greetings from the USA...

2012-04-18, 04:46
Hey all,

I just watched the TED talk with Rick Falkvinge, and I'd just like to point out that as a citizen of the USA, there's a form of copyright that infuriates me more than even those used by the music and film industries...

Martin Luther King gave many speeches. He was one of the greatest speakers of recent time in the States, and perhaps the world. However, his speeches are not free to watch, or to listen to.

His family has controlled all recordings of his speeches like no other recordings on Earth have ever been controlled. Even major media corporations such as ABC and such have to cough up huge sums of cash for the right to air just minutes of footage from his speeches.

Martin Luther King gave his speeches in public places, including his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

King intended to have his voice heard by all, but the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. sued CBS, and now nobody can even watch it on YouTube, as EMI is quick to takedown any uploads of it.

You can't watch it online, and you can rarely see it in-full anywhere because of the high cost of publication.

The rights are owned by the King Estate until 70 years after King's death, or 2038.

I find this to be the worst form of copyright abuse, and it would be great if the Pirate Party would make it a priority to ensure that all recorded speeches of historical significance are free and available to anyone who wishes to view them.

Dan O.

Anton Nordenfur
2012-04-18, 08:17
Hi Dan,

Speeches is covered as any other copyright claim in the Pirate Party politics, just like other media (film, music, literature, et cetera). In other words, I don't think we should have a special political position on speeches, as it is already covered. If our politics would go through today, the MLK speeches would all be entirely free to share.

Though it is an interesting facet of copyright that I for one haven't really thought of, and I'm certain it's a strong argument in public (especially since almost all public speakers want people to share their voice as much as possible, MLK included).

Just my views as a member.

2012-05-31, 04:50
The rights are owned by the King Estate until 70 years after King's death, or 2038.
This may be correct under United States copyright law.

According to copyright law in Sweden, and I believe in most other European countries, a public performance (or a recording of the same) is not considered a "work" protected by copyright proper for 70 years past the author's death, but a "neighbouring right" protected for 50 years past the date of the performance. As MLK delivered his speech in 1963, the recording will enter the public domain in Sweden on January 1, 2014, which is less than two years ahead of us (assuming the recording is even protected at all; see below).

Now, it may well be that the text of the speech is also protected by copyright as a literary work, thus limiting our freedom to distribute or perform it ourselves, but that is essentially a right distinct from the performing and recording right, covered by different rules and quite possibly held by another owner (but if King's family has obtained the exclusive rights to the recording from the recorder after it was made, then both rights would be in the same hands in this case anyway).

This distinction is especially important in an international context, as the two kinds of rights are covered by entirely different international treaties. The literary work is covered by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which the United States acceded to in 1988 with a date of entry into force of March 1, 1989 (but typically it applies also to works published before that date), while the performance is covered by the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, which the United States has still not acceded to.

Given that the "I have a dream" part was largely improvised by MLK at the time of performance, I find it unclear whether it actually counts as a literary work, and there are also some questions as to King's authorship to this text (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr._authorship_issues#Speeches).

There is legislation currently being considered in the EU to extend the term of protection for performances and recordings from 50 to 70 years, but still counting from the date of the performance, not from the death of the performer (which in King's case amounts to a difference of five years only). It remains to be seen how this extension will be implemented in the member states, in particular with regard to recordings already published as well as performances not recorded in a country that is a signatory to the Rome Convention (I haven't studied this in detail, but I suspect the latter criterion disqualifies the recorded MLK speech from protection in Europe).

2012-06-01, 02:01
Would like to point out that if the pirate party get its politics implemented into law, then the speeches would by now be in the public domain and free for everyone to spread.