Were we smarter about Copyright 100 years ago?




(crossposted from CreativeFreedom.org.nz)

Jame Boyle at The Public Domain analyses transcripts from 1909 with some interesting revelations about the recording industry "The thing that Sousa and the music publishers were most upset about was the fact that copyright covered printing and public performance, but did not cover the mechanical reproduction [...] Their goal was to get a new provision (section g) which would give composers (and thus publishers) the right to charge a royalty for these sound recordings. In strong opposition was the recording industry — which violently denied that the copyright holders should gain any share of the new market that (as they saw it) had been created out of thin air by technological innovation. To give copyright holders a veto over technology, they argued, would be fatal to the progress the Copyright Clause was designed to promote. As Larry Lessig points out in Free Culture there is no small irony involved here, since this is the opposite position that the recording industry takes today (having secured their legal rights) when they face the new technologies of the Net."

For those wanting to hear more from James Boyle try this podcast (MP3)