August 1, 2007 | By Fred von Lohmann

CCIA Targets Bogus Copyright Warnings

Copyright warnings -- like those "FBI Warnings" on DVDs, stickers on CDs, and warnings flashed during NFL broadcasts -- are becoming increasingly common. Trouble is, most of these warnings are blatantly misleading (and, in the case of DVDs, unskippable), claiming that any and all unauthorized uses are forbidden by law. Of course, copyright has always allowed lots of unauthorized uses, including fair uses.

Today, CCIA filed a complaint with the FTC, asking the Commission to take a number of major corporations to task for their misleading and intimidating copyright warnings. Targets include: the NFL, Major League Baseball, DreamWorks, Morgan Creek (producers of "The Good Shepherd"), and the book publishers, Harcourt and Penguin.

Entertainment industry spokespeople frequently harp about the need for "copyright education," yet many of their copyright warnings are misleading the public about copyright law every day. Here's hoping the FTC pushes these companies to clean up their act, and start the copyright education on their own products.

For my part, I've always been partial to the copyright warning that indie singer-songwriter Ani Difranco includes on her CDs -- "Unauthorized duplication, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing."

CCIA's also started a petition that will be sent to the FTC -- sign it here.


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