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October 27, 2004
Copyright Balance Gone With the Wind?
The Margaret Mitchell estate is at it again:
Heirs of Margaret Mitchell have threatened the U.S.-based Project Gutenberg and Project Gutenberg of Australia -- charging infringement of copyright.
The Stephens Mitchell Trusts wants Australian Gutenberg volunteers either to remove Gone With the Wind from their servers or else take steps to prevent downloads in countries where copyright law bans unauthorized distribution of the 1936 classic.
Otherwise, a lawyer for the heirs says in email and a certified letter, "we will take all appropriate steps to protect and enforce our clients' rights."
Previous copywrongs chronicled here
Later Dan Gillmor:
Unfortunately, the constant extensions of copyright terms in some countries has set up this kind of situation. And this sort of situation is one of the things likely to lead to more and more "zoning" on the Net.
Even if the Australia site does attempt to block access to people from some countries, there's no way to make this work 100 percent of the time. Does the Mitchell estate really believe it will have won anything valuable?
The bigger issue, as the TeleRead story indicates, is the prospect that the most restrictive political regimes will end up telling everyone what to do. If the most repressive governments and laws determine Internet governance globally, we're all in deep trouble.
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