Common sense about copyright. Jonathan Zittrain in the Boston Globe
“[O]nce one embraces turning ideas into saleable items, there is no easy end point. One can claim that a songwriter should be paid when her song is broadcast over the radio, and again when the radio is played in a restaurant – and again when the song is sung by a listener to a group of friends.
It was this reasoning that inspired ASCAP to send thousands of letters to summer camps across the country, demanding hundreds of dollars in annual royalties from, among others, Girl Scouts, presumably for songs sung around the campfire. An ASCAP official explained, ”They buy twine and glue for their crafts… they can pay for the music, too.” He was right as a legal matter – indeed, it is against the law to sing ”Happy Birthday” in public without paying a royalty – and disastrously wrong as a practical one….[ More…]