Those disclaimers spoken on Major League Baseball broadcasts, you know:
“Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this game, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, is prohibited,”
Well, after Fox and Cablevision couldn’t agree and blackouts during the playoffs ensued, the FCC stepped in with Twitter updates of the games in progress. Its not particularly interesting that someone would tweet about baseball games. I’ve checked the #twins hashtag on Twitter during a Twins just to see what other people think of the game. That the FCC would do it, more interesting. I’m fairly certain that MLB won’t sue the FCC, partly because facts, such as what’s the score aren’t copyrightable (not withstanding the “account of this game” language).
H/T to Consumerist
A short article I wrote summarizing the Costco v. Omega case was published in the Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association’s New Matter™ Newsletter.
The case is about the “first sale” doctrine in copyright law and specifically, whether goods manufactured and sold abroad can be imported into the United States without the permission of the copyright holder. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case and it should have interesting implications for retailers, distributors and copyright owners.
MIPLA New Matter June 2010
Pink Floyd recently won a case in the UK against its record company EMI over the rights to sell copies of Pink Floyd songs as individual digital downloads. The contract which was signed in 1999 limited EMI’s ability to sell singles of the songs and Pink Floyd successfully argued that that should apply to digital downloads as well. This case raises a potential moral rights issue in the age of the digital downloads.
While albums were still the norm ten years ago, increasingly people are looking for their music by the track. Apple’s iTunes store prices by the album, but you are still left with individual files that are downloaded to your computer. Should artists like Pink Floyd be able to sell their music only in the form of an album? US Copyright law is distinctly economic in nature and the idea of “moral rights” or droit d’auteur play a very small role here. While artists in many countries can control how their works appear well after the works are sold; here in the US, artists are limited to rights granted under copyright law such as reproduction, public performance, etc.
Perhaps we will see more one track albums in the future. Or perhaps its time to move past the album, a format that exists largely due to the technical specifications of LPs (60 minute capacity) and to some extent Compact Disc (80 minute capacity). Not all music needs to be one hour divided into 10 songs. Digital downloads can be just about any size. The only effective limitations are what a person might want to listen to and what an artist feels is appropriate*. Perhaps now is a good time to rethink the album.
*There is at least one song that could cause problems for digital downloads. As Slow As Possible by John Cage has been performed since 2001 in Halberstadt, Germany and the performance is expected to continue for another 639 years.