Conan copyright trolls censor fan-readings of public domain storiesFrom Boing-Boing
Posted by Cory Doctorow, February 25, 2009 4:16 AM
The Time Traveler sez, “Broken Sea Audio, a nifty non-profit audiodrama troupe has been threatened with litigation if they continue to adapt ‘public domain’ stories that were written by the late Robert E. Howard: ‘Broken Sea Audio Productions, headquartered in New Zealand, has shut down all their Robert E. Howard projects after receiving another threatening letter from the lawyers for Conan Properties International LLC (aka Paradox Entertainment). CPI is the limited liability company that claims all licensing powers over works by Robert E. Howard worldwide.’
“CPI says that since Broken Sea’s productions reach countries where these stories are not in public domain (a doubtful claim in itself) they have to remove all Conan material from their site. Under this logic, any country could hijack public domain from the rest of the world by just claiming a copyright never expires and could also claim fair use does not exist. ‘Take that etching of Charles Dickens off your website.’ could be the new rule.”
Damned right — IANAL, but I’m pretty sure that if Broken Sea Audio’s free Conan readings infringed upon CPI’s copyrights in Outer Freedonia, CPI’s remedy would be to sue Broken See in Outer Freedonia, and that that unless Broken Sea has assets in Outer Freedonia, the suit would probably end badly for CPI.