Copyright gives creators a monopoly on most uses of their work throughout their lives and for seventy years post mortem. Copyfraud, in Mazzone's striking but far from unjustified usage, is a claim of ownership made by institutions and individuals that do not possess it. To discover how prevalent such frauds are (and the degree to which they constrain and contort writers, musicians, filmmakers, and others) is truly amazing. Mazzone deals only with the US, but though the precise contours of copyright are slightly different in the UK and the EU, the same kinds of overreach arise more or less everywhere nowadays. Who are the perpetrators? Museums that claim copyright in images of works that they own or hold but that are in the public domain; picture libraries that charge license fees for out-of-copyright works; publishers who make false assertions of copyright in government publications, even in law...
Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law
David Bellos, an officer of the French National Order of Arts and Letters, is the Pyne Professor of French Literature and professor of comparative literature at Princeton University, where he founded and for many years directed the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication. His books include Georges Perec: A Life in Words, for which he received the Prix Goncourt de la Biographie; The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of “Les Misérables,” for which he received the American Library in Paris Book Award; Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything; Romain Gary: A Tall Story; Jacques Tati: His Life and Art; Balzac Criticism in France, 1850–1900; and a translation of works by Ismail Kadare, for which he received the Man Booker International Prize.
David Bellos; Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law. Common Knowledge 1 May 2022; 28 (2): 292–293. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-9809291
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