September 18, 2020

Just Ask

Sasha Volokh tells an amusing story about asking record companies for permission to tape recorded music. Once they realized he was serious, the companies almost all gave him permission and thanked him for asking.

We should do more of this. When companies make silly overreaching claims about the extent of their copyrights, don’t just ignore them. Call them and ask for exceptions. Call WalMart and ask permission to tell your friends about their prices. (WalMart told FatWallet’s ISP that that’s infringement.) Call Turner Broadcasting and ask permission to fast-forward through the commercials in their shows. (Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner told Cableworld that commercial skipping is illegal.) Call Adobe and ask permission to read their e-book of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to your kid. (One of Adobe’s licenses prohibited this.)

Don’t call these companies just to harrass them. But if you do want an exception to their stated rules, go ahead and call.

(If any of you do try calling, please let me know what happens.)