de minimis

Theft! A History of Music —Part 3: If I could turn forward time...

Imagine a 20-year-old musician publishing his work today. Let's pretend he's living the fast and reckless life of a rock star and will die young at 45. Because the copyright term has been ratcheted up to life of the author plus 70 years (or 95 years from publication for corporate works), you won't be able to sample his work without permission (for your heartfelt tribute song, of course), until 2105. But since you're not living his rock star lifestyle, maybe you can hang on another 95 years to grab your chance. » Read more

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Theft! A History of Music—Part 2: Copyright jams

Our society and its lawmakers are notoriously bad at predicting the effects of new technologies. I think of the ongoing battles over new distribution formats, like the assumption that "the VCR [would be] to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." Jennifer Jenkins, one of the authors of Theft! A History of Music, has an even more basic and older example: musical notation. » Read more

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