Monday, January 05, 2009

I wrote to my congresswoman

Well I finally did it - I think moving to NYC was what inspired me - I wrote to my Congresswoman, Carol Maloney, asking her how I can go about getting a bill into Congress that would require the US Copyright Office to require proof of authorization for all derivative work registration.

Because although the US Copyright Office's website claims that authorization is required, it does not require proof and hence Edward Einhorn was able to get an UNAUTHORIZED derivative copyright on my play TAM LIN (he called his a "blocking and choreography" script) registered. Not only unauthorized, but completely unbeknownst to me until he used it a year later as the basis of a lawsuit against me for producing my own play.

And it gets worse.

It went to trial as Edward Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions in April 2006. You can read about it at The Strange Case of Edward Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions.

Judge Lewis Kaplan said in his decision that Einhorn's work was not eligible for copyright because it was:

registered for the purpose of instigating a lawsuit

and he ordered Einhorn to have it deregistered.

Einhorn was able to avoid this however by simply refusing to admit to the US Copyright Office that Kaplan's findings were correct. And his unauthorized derivative registration is to this day in the Copyright Office's database. The US Copyright Office's refusal to take the word of a federal judge over the perpetrator is another cause for reform - but none of this would have happened if the Copyright Office wasn't so lax about its own regulations.

I will get the US Copyright Office to change its ways if I have to spend the rest of my life doing it - and Einhorn's ill-gotten copyright WILL be deregistered one day.