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Copyright Gone Mad

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...as reported in this excellent piece, Whose music is it anyway?, by Norman Lebrecht. Lebrecht reports some absurd outcomes of copyright law, the application of which threatens to limit the availability of treasured classic music recordings. 

But Lebrecht missteps when he concludes, "That is what judges are there to stop. Whoever ends up owning what, the law must make common sense and must ensure that the protection of copyright does not block the public footpath to cultural enlightenment."

This is wrong. Judges are there to do justice, where possible; this is how the common law developed; but they have a dual mission: they also have to construe statutes, legislator-made "law." Given the bizarre, contradictory, ambiguous, and unjust principles that infuse modern copyright statutes, the judges cannot be blamed for their decisions. The very logic of intellectual property entails absurd results.

(Thanks to RJ Stove for the link.)

Stephan Kinsella is an attorney in Houston, director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, and editor of Libertarian Papers.

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