The former governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, apologizes above for using a Talking Heads song, “Road to Nowhere” in his recent losing Senate battle. The creation of this video was part of the settlement terms with David Byrne, lead singer of the popular group from the 1980s. Mr. Crist simply used the song in his campaign without seeking permission from the creator of the work. Mr. Byrne asserted his legal right to protect his creation from unauthorized usage by suing the former elected official for $1 million dollars.
Contrast this event with this recent statement from the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization, Francis Gurry:
“Copyright should be about promoting cultural dynamism, not preserving or promoting vested business interests.”
Is Mr. Byrne merely protecting his creation or preserving his lucrative business?
Here’s what the United States Constitution says:
The Congress shall have Power … To promote the Progress of Science
and useful Arts, by securing for limited Tımes to Authors and Inventors
the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8
Does “exclusive Right” inherently connote one’s own business investment?
All thorny issues that are only broached here to point out the fuzzy intricacies of copyright and its development over the past 300 years.
In the meantime, check out your Robinson Music Library’s display case featuring copyright awareness and several resources available therein.
Or test your own knowledge of copyright with this handy quiz made possible by Lesley Ellen Harris and her blog, Copyrightlaws.com.