Hypocrisy in Hollywood – from Pirate Against Edison to Lobbyist for ACTA-SOPA-PIPA


Provided by Paralegal.net

Commentary. Haiti Chery thanks Peter Kim for this fantastic info-graphic that describes the little known origin of Hollywood as a pirate and attaches some startling numbers to the movie industry’s greed. A summary of U.S. copyright laws follows the graphics.

This info-graphic clearly shows that, even if sharing were completely free, and the movie industry had to rely solely on theater and box office revenues, movies would still make 66% of their current tens of billions of dollars: more than enough to justify production.

The point of copyrights is to give the rights holder enough headstart to profit from an idea in exchange for making the idea completely available for later use by the public. Whatever is fair now surely is unchanged since the 1800’s. Nevertheless, U.S. copyright laws have become more extreme since the mid 1970’s, although they did not change between 1909 and 1976. Back then copyright protection was set at 28 years with a possible 28-year extension, for a maximum total of 56 years.

  • In 1976, the Copyright Act extended the term to the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship.
  • In 1998, the Copyright Terms Extension lengthened these terms to the life of the author plus 70 years, and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier.

As if this were not enough, copyright owners are now lobbying governments throughout the world to attach severe penalties to infringements, which they liken to “theft.” But in the 1985 Dowling v. United States case, the U.S. Supreme Court distinguished an “infringer of the copyright” from a thief and ruled that the bootleg of phono records did not constitute stolen property and that

“interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud…. In the case of copyright infringement… no control, physical  or otherwise, is taken over the copyright, nor is the copyright holder wholly deprived of using the copyrighted work or exercising the exclusive rights held.”

Dady Chery, Editor
Haiti Chery

Sources: Provided by Paralegal.net (infographics) | Wikipedia (legal data, Snow White image) | Haiti Chery (commentary)


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