Intellectual property law has a history of clashing with new technologies. In the early 1900s, for example, when player pianos were all the rage, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the perforated music rolls fed into player pianos were not music—essentially because they didn’t look like sheet music and performed a mechanical function. The ruling meant that sellers of the music rolls did not infringe the copyrights of the composers whose music was played by means of the rolls. The copyright law was eventually changed to address that unfair situation, but the copyright/technology clash has continued with the advent of video players, Napster, and CD burners. Read more.
Art: J.D. King
Let’s hope I do not infringe any copyright by introducing you to this article, published in the excellent IEEE Spectrum magazine.