horizon86 wrote:Yeah i'm not too sure about this but i'm pertty sure you can't copyright a conversation.
I don't think that's right -- I would imagine a spoken conversation would have the same copyright status as any other sound recording.
My understanding is that copyight law has been used in the past to surpress embarrassing works. Clearly this is an abuse of the law, and needs to be stopped.
It's one of the issues with automatic copyright, with everything being copyrighted by virtue of being fixed into a permanent form (in some sense, even if digital). It means that anything is copyright, and that copyright law and infringement can be brought to bear, possibly quite legally and correctly under present law, to restrict dissemination of information that is embarrassing or shows wrongdoing.
For example, I think I've heard of lawyers sending legal nastygrams (e.g., letters extorting pre-settlements from alleged filesharers coming to mind, but it could equally be done with anything), and then trying to prevent the recipients from publishing the letter on the Web to show what they've been threatened with, on the basis that the contents are copyrighted to the lawyer, and may not be reproduced/distributed like that without their consent.
A partial answer might be to go back to requiring at least an assertion of copyright when distributing, for the work to be covered.
For creative people, intentionally seeking to retain control or earn rewards during the copyright period, that is almost no effort to put (C) 2009 <whoever> on it somewhere, for people not expecting to earn a reward, they are clearly willing to create it without a further incentive (remember, the purpose of copyright is provide that incentive, nothing else), and for people who really want their creative work to be free to use, they can do that very easily by not
attaching a copyright assertion, instead of being forced to use e.g. Creative Commons licensing to try and work round automatic copyright.
Of course the temptation for companies and lawyers then will be to put (C) notices on everything, internal emails, legal nastygrams, *everything*, on the other hand that immediately opens the gate for everyone to question when they receive (even innocous) such things, "Why is this being claimed as copyright? Is it even copyrightable/should it be copyrightable? How does this encourage creativity, or is it only being done so that it can potentially be used to restrict speech?".