Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ring On!

In these tight economic times (and sometimes even before), everyone's trying to milk everything for more money. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers brought a case trying to get royalties whenever a cell phone went off, on the argument that ring tones are protected works of art, and that when they ring, particularly in public, they are a "public performance" within the meaning of the Copyright Act.

They lost that argument this month. The trial court ruled that "when a ringtone plays on a cellular telephone, even when that occurs in public, the user is exempt from copyright liability, and [the cellular carrier] is not liable either secondarily or directly." The Electronic Frontier Foundation has more.

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