[cc-community] Contract loopholes for record labels and movie studios? Subverting copyright through medium transformation?

Alan Cox alan at lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk
Thu Dec 1 09:54:26 EST 2011

On Wed, 30 Nov 2011 19:58:30 -0500
Danny Piccirillo <danny.piccirillo at member.fsf.org> wrote:

> Thinking subversively, are there standard contracts that studios and labels
> use? Have they been leaked somewhere? Are there loopholes that would allow
> creators to, while remaining under contract, exercise their own copyright
> by declaring their works under free licenses FAL, FL, CC-BY-SA, or
> otherwise? Or are are the copyrights generally fully transferred to the
> studio/label/whatever?

Lots of such contracts can be read in court case filings if you are
really really bored.

> More practical and subversive, I'm wondering how copyright law holds up
> when representing one creative work in another form. For example, what if
> you created some software that could encode music in beautiful imagery? It
> would no longer be a song, it would be a picture, a piece of art on its
> own, but it could be translated back into that song, and used to circumvent
> copyright that way, or would that still be illegal?

The law is not (contrary to many opinions) that stupid.

There are real cases where licensing by studios has been wrong for new
media. Many journalists were able to obtain additional fees for
electronic provision of their old articles and some book authors have
been in similar situations.

In the music world there have been some recent high profile suits because
the music companies tried to sell the electronic music publishers
licensing deals while accounting them in royalties to the musicians at a
much lower rated used for record sales (which was lower for the physical
object costs, resale rights etc).

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