of oil platforms, performing, and other legal oddities

Thomas: so, I know nothing about French copyright law, so take with a grain of salt. But…

Several years ago now1 Dave and I were looking at a Novell slide deck which had a copyright slide. The copyright slide said that you couldn’t copy the slide deck. (Duh.) Couldn’t modify the slide deck. (Duh.) Couldn’t… perform the slide deck. Dave and I, at this point, break down laughing, picturing someone on a stage declaiming the deck in a faux-Shakespearean voice, or perhaps as modern dance. Couldn’t for the life of us figure out why someone would be concerned about the deck being performed.

Fast forward to copyright class last spring. Turns out that copyright holders in the US have the exclusive rights to (among other things):

(4) … to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

17 USC 106

So, even though it didn’t strictly make sense when describing a slide deck, the lawyers had wanted to make sure that they kept all their rights- they didn’t want to leave out performance and suggest that ‘well, you can’t copy, but you can perform.’2

I’d bet that French copyright law has a similar clause mentioning oil platforms, perhaps because at some point petrochemical companies were violating copyrights on oil platforms outside of national waters, or something like that… and the lawyers who put together the legalese in your DVD said ‘we want to make sure we cover all the bases’ and… that thing resulted.

Now- why they don’t just say ‘All Rights Reserved’? That… I have no idea.

  1. at least three.. god, that makes me feel old []
  2. This is not Novell-specific; since Dave pointed this out, I’ve noticed the same language a lot of places. []