Benjamin Geer on Sun, 14 May 2000 13:12:32 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Copyright and forgery

On Fri, May 12, 2000 at 07:30:54PM -0400, Decklin Foster wrote:
> We need to ask ourselves two things: (1) Does our government still
> represent the public? and (2) Is copyright still a good trade?
> Do note that (2) is not an all-or-nothing issue. It may be that case
> that trading away the right to copy benefits society up to a certain
> point, but things like authors-life-plus-70-years and the DMCA are far
> into the land where the costs outweigh the benefits.

I tend to agree, but there's one possibility that bothers me.
Consider what happened to James Joyce's novel, _Ulysses_, when his
estate allowed the copyright to lapse for a few years.  Random House
published a `reader's edition', in which they simply changed all the
parts that they thought were difficult to understand.  The result is a
novel which is not Joyce's _Ulysses_, but which is being sold under
that name.  I was horrified at the thought that unuspecting readers
would believe that this was _Ulysses_.  It seems to me that, in the
absence of copyright protection, there ought to be some protection
against what you might call `forgery of existing works'.  Random House
should be allowed to publish their novel, but they shouldn't be
allowed to use Joyce's name or the title _Ulysses_.

Benjamin Geer

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