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Curse of the Greedy Copyright Holders

Jul 14, 2010, 16:36 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tony Woodlief)

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"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal," wrote T.S. Eliot. I am neither poet nor thief, so when I wanted poems at the start of each chapter in my recently published memoir, I sought permission. The poem that best describes my experience is "The Odyssey," navigating as I did between the Scylla of non-responsive copyright holders and the Charybdis of fee-seeking attorneys.

"Modern copyright practices spur artists to unmoor our work from what has inspired us. Art—along with many artists supposedly protected by these laws—is arguably poorer for it.

"The modern copyright battle is more interesting than its associated legalities. Advocates of copyright restrictions found a bête noire in curmudgeonly novelist Mark Helprin, who argued that Congress should extend "the term of copyright . . . as far as it can throw.""

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