[free-sklyarov] Another ebook "processor"

Seth Johnson seth.johnson at Realmeasures.dyndns.org
Fri Aug 17 00:04:31 PDT 2001


Do you have any references that show how things were different before
the Berne Convention, particularly as relates to the application of
copyright to fine arts?

Seth Johnson

Jeme A Brelin wrote:
> The Berne Convention was a sort of treaty signed by the United States
> (among other nations) that contained ideas eventually expressed in the
> United States as a rewrite of the Copyright Act.  In particular, the Berne
> Convention requires signatory nations to protect copyright on unpublished
> expressions and removes the requirement of publication via registration of
> a copyrighted expression with the Library of Congress.  This is directly
> opposed to the Congressional mandate set forward in the Constitution to
> promote progress and directly opposed to the bargain struck between the
> public and authors.  The Berne Convention is another example of an
> industry, created by a public trust, using its influence to leverage and
> subvert the will and benefit of the public.
> The copyright bargain is one in which the public gets to use an expression
> and an author gets to ensure that the expression remains true to its
> intent.  These rights are reserved for only a limited time because it is
> the nature of expressions to evolve and it is to the public benefit and
> the progress of all mankind that expressions be allowed to
> evolve.  Eventually, it is necessary for the public to be able to digest
> and regurgitate the expression in other forms not approved by the
> author.
> It's important to note, I think, that the Constitution of the United
> States carefully states that the mandate of Congress is "to promote the
> progress of science and the useful arts" with appropriate legislation of a
> form that secures "the exclusive rights of authors and inventors to their
> respective writings and discoveries".  Modern copyright is only rarely
> used to protect the integrity of a scientific work.  Mostly, copyright is
> used to protect those practitioners of the fine arts.  It was wise and
> insightful of our forefathers to intentionally neglect the fine arts in
> their clause.  It is the nature of fine art to feed upon itself.  Fine art
> exists, some would argue, to reflect the culture and encourage other
> expression in that reflection.  A mirror can infringe copyright and fine
> art is a mirror.  If the fine arts (such as painting, poetry,
> non-scientific writing, and sculpture; as opposed to the useful arts, such
> as carpentry, smithery, and architecture) are not allowed to feed on each
> other in a cannibalistic way, it stagnates and becomes dreary or
> debauched.  This is the state of the modern fine arts, in my opinion.  And
> this state is perpetuated by and was originally brought into being as the
> natural outcome of the extension of copyright to the fine arts.

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