Re: Napster: thoughts and comments?

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 13:59:16 MDT

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> > > As I understand it, you don't have to charge money to violate copyright,
> > > just damage the author's ability to make money from their work by it's use.
> >
> > This isn't true. You have to be actively charging money for providing others
> > with the specific enjoyment of its use and NOT paying Metallica or its record
> > company a royalty. Playing Metallica in your backyard for a cookout is not a
> > violation of copyright, even though your use of their CD in providing free music
> > to other people who might not own their CD.
> Well, it's not quite that simple (laws never are, and IP laws are much
> worse). "Public performance" can be an infringement, and charging
> money or not is not the deciding factor. A court decides on a case-
> by-case basis. Playing an album at your party is probably okay, even
> if you charged for entrance. But waiters singing "Happy Birthday" to
> customers is not--that has been ruled an infringement of the copyright
> to that song owned by the estate of the Smith sisters, who zealously
> pursue such infringements of the copyright--no doubt to encourage the
> production of more creative work by their dead ancestors.

Ah, but waiters are engaging in a dinnerlong performance for compensation: their

> If you think "I'm not making money" is an excuse, put up a fan
> website for a popular movie or TV show and see what happens.

Where such websites get nailed is the unauthorized use of trademarks, logos,
etc. which do not depend upon money changing hands to be protectable..

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