Monday, January 23, 2012

Supreme Court Copyright Decision Shouldn't Affect Classics

Opera-loving Justice Ginsburg
"Established opera companies and symphonies should not be hurt seriously by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last week upholding a law that moved the work of composers such as Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitry Shostakovich from the public domain to copyright protection. Timothy O'Leary, general director of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, said in an interview, 'It is possible that (the decision) will add some additional costs but not substantially.' O'Leary said that about one of Opera Theatre's four productions each season is under copyright, but that 'we don't make decisions about what operas to perform' based on whether royalties are due. In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress did not violate the First Amendment by taking works in the public domain and placing them under copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be performed without royalties, while copyright protection requires royalties. The law that the court upheld extended copyright protection to works of foreign artists from the early 20th century who created their works at a time when U.S. law did not provide them with copyright protection. In addition to Russian composers such as Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Igor Stravinsky, the law also applied to paintings by Pablo Picasso, movies by Alfred Hitchcock and books by authors such as C.S. Lewis and Virginia Woolf." [Source] Check out two pictures of Justice Ginsburg in more operatic settings after the jump.
Ginsburg with Renée Fleming

Ginsburg with Patricia Racette

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