Re: Mozart did a Napster

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From: Roy T. Fielding (fielding@kiwi.ICS.UCI.EDU)
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 15:27:34 PDT

>"Mozart once heard a piece of music so piercingly beautiful that he was
>moved to write it down from memory after hearing it performed in a church.
>He had no choice. The church believed it 'owned' the music, and forbade
>anyone to copy it. So, Mozart pulled a Napster. The piece has been in the
>public domain ever since, for all to enjoy."

Amusing, but of no relevance. Copyright protects the expression of an
idea, not the idea itself. Mozart created a new expression of the music
by taking what he heard and expressing it as notes on a page, using his
own mind to guide the expression.

Copying mp3 files is a mechanical process of copying the same expression.
It therefore violates copyright laws when the expression is owned and
no license to copy has been obtained from the owner.

Napster is an indexing and access service. Indexing doesn't violate
copyright laws, but it does aid others in doing so. That is legal provided
that there does exist some legitimate purpose and the company doesn't
suggest it is okay to copy without permission. However, there is a lot
of gray area around the access service itself.

There is no connection to be made between Mozart and Napster aside from
the availability of some of Mozart's genius in the copyrighted expressions
of modern artists that can be downloaded via Napster.


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