The original decision in the copyright vultures vs Men At Work case was a clear demonstration of just how broken copyright law has become.
And now they’ve lost the appeal.
As Emmett J said, effectively forced by Parliament to find for the parasites:
100. If, as I have concluded, the relevant versions of Down Under involve an infringement of copyright, many years after the death of Ms Sinclair, and enforceable at the behest of an assignee, then some of the underlying concepts of modern copyright may require rethinking. While there are good policy reasons for encouraging the intellectual and artistic effort that produces literary, artistic and musical works, by rewarding the author or composer with some form of monopoly in relation to his or her work (see Ice TV at ), it may be that the extent of that monopoly, both in terms of time and extent of restriction, ought not necessarily be the same for every work. For example, it is arguably anomalous that the extent of the monopoly granted in respect of inventions under the Patents Act 1990 (Cth), being a limited period following disclosure, is significantly less than the monopoly granted in respect of artistic, literary or musical works, being a fixed period following the death of the author or composer, irrespective of the age of the author or composer at the time of publication.
101. Of course, the significance of the anomalous operation of the Copyright Act can be addressed in terms of the remedies and relief granted in respect of infringement. Nevertheless, one may wonder whether the framers of the Statute of Anne and its descendants would have regarded the taking of the melody of Kookaburra in the Impugned Recordings as infringement, rather than as a fair use that did not in any way detract from the benefit given to Ms Sinclair for her intellectual effort in producing Kookaburra.
My question is this: if enough outrage can’t be mustered to demand reform of this absurd law – terms that last ludicrous lengths of time; a system where a musical reference, an homage, is “infringement” rather than “fair use” – when it’s an absolute Australian rock classic that’s being attacked, when will it happen? Can the copyright parasites just get away with anything, now? What will our politicians give them next?
ELSEWHERE: Crikey on the copyright industry’s bullshit claims of inflated losses.