Thursday, February 19, 2015

Copyright Timeline

My timeline maker was not working for some reason.

Major media conglomerates list expands to include CBS and General Electric, owners of NBC.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 92)

The Swedish “Pirate Party” acquires two seats in the 2009 European Parliament elections. The party stands for reformation of copyright law and the decriminalization of non-commercial file sharing, reduction of copyright terms and banning of Digital Rights Management (DRM), the dismantling of the patent system and the ongoing protection of personal privacy in the information age. Many other country-specific Pirate Parties were established in the wake of this electoral victory.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 93)

In the same year, the Supreme Court writes that "the tension between a speaker's desire for anonymity and the right of the plaintiff to protect his reputation or property arises in a variety of contexts, including defamation, copyright infringement, harassment, and malicious gossip. When faced with the clash of such valued interests, [The Supreme Court] must strike a balance between the well-established First Amendment right to speak anonymously, and the right of the plaintiff to protect its proprietary interests and reputation through the assertion of recognizable claims based on the actionable conduct of the anonymous, fictitiously-named defendant" (Solers, Inc. v. Doe, 2009, p. 251).
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 267)

Viacom initiated a lawsuit against Google-owned Youtube, claiming that the video-sharing website enabled widespread copyright infringement of their content. Three years later, the case was defeated and it was ruled that Youtube fell within the ‘safe harbour’ provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). This meant that as long as Youtube complied with takedown notices from copyright owners, they could not be held accountable for the content hosted on the site, as there is no way they could know if content is uploaded legitimately or not.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 93-94)

More than 66% of Americans have access to the Internet.
(Lessig, “Free Culture,” 7)

Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, the number of major media conglomerates had been reduced from fifty to five and between them, these five conglomerates owned the majority of newspapers, magazines, book publishers, radio and TV stations, and movies of the United States. These conglomerates consisted of Time Warner, Bertelsmann, News Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, and Viacom.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 92)

49% of Americans have access to the Internet.
(Lessig, “Free Culture,” 7)

Reno versus ACLU
The Supreme Court declared the Internet as a “new marketplace of ideas” when it struck down a federal law that regulated sexually explicit on the internet, which is just emerging. The Court acknowledged the unique communicative aspects of this medium, stating that "[The Internet] constitutes a vast platform from which to address and hear from a world-wide audience of millions of readers, viewers, researchers, and buyers" (Reno, p.853).
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 266)

Federal law which states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another content provider" (47 U.S.C., p. 230). This means that interactive computer services are exempt from civil liability for content posted by other information providers. Congress created this so-called Good Samaritan provision to protect ISPs and other interactive computer services in order to "preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation" (47 U.S.C., p. 230).
(Dewiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 270)

McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commissions.
The Supreme Court adjudicates on the right to engage in anonymous political leafleting and states that "an author's decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication, is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment" (McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commissions, 1995).
(Dewiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 267)

Fifty major media conglomerates in the United States collectively control the bulk of significant media outlets across the world. These major media conglomerates have complete control over the factories, the machinery and tools of production, the means of distribution, and promotion, all of which were extremely expensive and inaccessible to the majority of individual artists.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 92)

Late 1960s

Intellectual property, which is a catch-all label for copyrights, trademarks, and patents, becomes a popularized term in the United States. The meanings for copyrights, trademarks, and patents becomes confusing since each term is completely different from the others. The beneficiaries of this widespread confusion are the multinational media conglomerates who wish to promote the agenda that cultural works are property, which they own outright.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 89)

North Carolina farmers, Thomas Lee and Tinie Causby file a lawsuit against the government for trespassing onto their lands with low-flying military which ultimately led to the death of their chickens. This event brought up questions like “How much space below and/or above does one own if he or she owns that piece of land?” “Can I forbid the government from trespassing into this unknown yet limited property?” The case was thrown out by the simple notion that “common sense revolts at the idea.” This is one of the first examples of the law adjusting itself to newer and more innovative technologies.
(Lessig, “Free Culture,” 2-3)

Disney releases Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This is a pivotal moment in the history of development of animation that would not have occurred if the Brothers Grimm received extensions to their copyright terms for Snow white and the rest of their original stories, which Disney borrowed a number of their concepts from.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 91)

Edward Howard Armstrong is issued four patents for his revolutionary invention, the FM radio. Armstrong was working for RCA, a dominant player in the AM radio market at the time, when he created the FM radio. The FM radio was vastly superior to its predecessor which meant FM radio was a threat to the AM radio business. For this reason, RCA prolonged the FM radio’s public emergence. RCA’s president, David Sarnoff, a friend of Armstrong’s, was eager that Armstrong discover a way to remove static from AM radio. Instead of creating some type of filter to block out the static of the AM radio, Armstrong created an entirely new innovative revolutionary technology. Eventually, RCA declared Armstrong’s patents invalid 15 years after they were issued. RCA at first kept the technology in house, insisting that further tests were needed. When, after two years of testing, Armstrong grew impatient, RCA began to use its power with the government to stall FM radio’s deployment generally.  RCA hired the former head of the FCC and assigned him the task of assuring that the FCC assign spectrum in a way that would castrate FM—principally by moving FM radio to a different band of spectrum. Being a huge corporation with many connections and much power, RCA was able to hold Armstrong off for 21 years through a series of political and corporate tactics. Finally as the patents were to expire, RCA offered Armstrong a settlement so low that it would not cover his lawyer fees. Defeated, broke, and financially destroyed, Armstrong eventually commits suicide.
(Lessig, “Free Culture,” 3-6)

Mickey Mouse is born!
Walt Disney creates Steamboat Willie, the first widely distributed cartoon synchronized with sound. Disney borrowed this synchronization technique from another film released the previous year, The Jazz Singer, and this effect was able to bring the cartoons to life. Steamboat Willie was a parody of Buster Keaton’s independent classic silent film, Steamboat Bill, Jr. Walt Disney borrowed several ideas from Steamboat Bill, Jr. and just like Steamboat Bill, Jr., Disney’s cartoon is based off the song Steamboat Bill. Disney had created something new from something that was relatively new. By 1928, most of the content is free of copyright laws and open for Disney or anyone else to use and build upon. This is an example of “Walt Disney Creativity” which is a form of expression and genius that builds upon the culture around us and makes it something different.
(Lessig, “Free Culture,” 21-24)

June 1906

Famous composer, John Phillip Sousa, takes a trip to the Library of Congress in order to testify about the status of copyright law in America and insure that the creators are paid for their respective creations.
Sousa described this form of piracy and asked that Congress “remedy a serious defect in the ... law, which permits manufacturers and sellers of phonograph records ... to appropriate for their own profit the best compositions of the American composer without paying a single cent therefor.”
Sousa fears a decline in participation and production and becomes an advocate for a “Read/Write” culture. This is a culture where the people will actively engage in understanding their culture as well as creating or recreating the culture around them.
Sousa fights the possibility of a “Read Only” culture emerging by stressing the importance of copyright laws and warning the dangers mechanical music.
(Lessig, "Remix," 23-29)

The first amendment is adopted into the United States Constitutions. This amendment allows participatory cultures and virtual communities on the internet to develop and flourish in various online forms and forums.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 226)

Copyright law is created in England because competing publishing companies in Ireland and Scotland were taking English authors’ manuscripts, reprinting them, and selling them at lower prices. These laws gave authors the sole right to make copies of their work for a period of fourteen years. Afterwards the right would be relinquished and the work would enter the Public Domain and anyone would be allowed to produce and sell copies of it. Copyright is a simple law designed to enable a publishing company to enforce a monopoly on the work for a limited period of time, which is an economic incentive for them to continue publishing books.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 90)

Manus O’Donnell reiterates the same words that Colmcille stated in 1532 in defence of appropriation.

AD 561
According to Irish legend, St. Colmcille visited his old teacher, Finnian of Molville, and during this visit, Colmcille borrowed an important religious book from Finnian’s collection. Colmcille decided to produce a hand-rendered copy of this religious book. Once Finnian found out Colmcille created an unauthorized copy, Finnian demanded that the copy be handed over to him immediately. Colmcille denied Finnian’s request thus the case was brought to the High King of Ireland, Diarmaid. Diarmaid ruled that the copy rightfully belongs to Finnian under the Brehon Law which states ‘to every cow belongs its calf, to every book, its copy.’ Colmcille challenged the ruling and the dispute manifested itself into a battle known as the Battle of Cul Dreimne, or the Battle of the Books. Diarmaid’s army was massacred, leaving Colmcille the victor which meant he was able to keep the unauthorized copy that he created. This book is known as the ‘Cathach’ or the “Battler.” This is one of the earliest examples of copyright wars.
In defence of appropriation, Colmcille said, “I contend that the book of Finnian is none the worse for my copying it, and it is not right that the divine words in that book should perish, or that I nor any other should be hindered from writing them or reading them among the tribes. And further, I declare that it was right for me to copy it, seeing there was profit for me in copying this book in the form of wisdom gained, and seeing it was my desire to give the profit thereof to all peoples with no harm therefore to Finnian, or his book.
(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 86)

6th Century BC
Pythagoras would reorder and recombine letters of a word to form a new word which would bear some type of semiotic relation to the original. The concept of anagrams are one of the earliest examples of remixing.

(Delwiche & Henderson, “The Participatory Cultures Handbook,” 93)

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