Thursday, January 02, 2003

John sends this NY Times article about how Euro copyrights on 1950s music are expiring. Good. The USA supposedly extended its copyrights to 95 years and longer in order to conform to Europe. That was a fraud. 50 years is plenty long for a music copyright. I think 20 year copyrights would be better.

John also sends this story about a Russian student in LA being charged with leaking satellite TV documents. See also this CNN story. Under a federal law called The Economic Espionage Act of 1996, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1831-1839, he can get 10 years in prison. A couple of things bother me about this. Why is a federal prosecution needed, when California already has strong laws against trade secret theft? Why did federal prosecutors need high-level approval in DC to apply this law, unless the DoJ knows that the law is overbroad and easily abused? Why did a law firm even have these documents, unless there was already some dispute about them? How are the feds going to prove economic espionage when that entails proving economic benefit, when the Russian did not economically benefit and it is not clear how anyone else might have economically benefitted either?

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