Two years ago last month, I was reading the trial court opinion from White-Smith v. Apollo from 1905 (the player piano case), and I noticed a cite to a 1878 Supreme Court case I hadn’t heard of before, Perris v. Hexamer. I gave the decision a read and found that it was about the copyrightability... Read More
Below is a video recorded at the U.S. Copyright Office in early 1987, at an event for staff, where Waldo Moore, who had been at the Office since 1951, provided some history of the Copyright Office, and discussed some of the individuals who had held the position of Register of Copyrights. Moore retired the year... Read More
“Some sheep are being treated like goats and the resulting mélange can satisfy no one except those who happen to profit from the confusion.” Benjamin Kaplan, Harvard Law Professor, on sound recording copyright, from Publication in Copyright Law: The Question of Phonograph Records, 103 U. Penn. L. Rev. 469 (1955). To be clear, what follows... Read More
When I was at the Copyright Office as Abraham L. Kaminstein Scholar in Residence, I happened to find the video below. Andy Johnson-Laird made it for the U.S. Copyright Office at some point shortly after the Mosaic web browser (the first one) was developed and the web began to take off, I’m estimating either in... Read More
The Music Modernization Act just passed the House as I’m writing this, and it seemed apropos to look at the origins of mechanical licensing in the 1909 Copyright Act. The story has been told before (although not in a dedicated article or book), but I’ve found a number of aspects of the story that I... Read More
This post brings together two separate but related topics – a relatively unknown resource about the Supreme Court, and light it shines on what I think were the main schools of thought on copyright in the late nineteenth century. Read on for more, including original scans of archival material.