Saturday, February 08, 2014

Performing Music for Torture at Guantanamo - What are the Copyright Issues?

(sculpture of José Antonio Elvira in Guantánamo, a city in southeast Cuba. Wikimedia)

The issues of music as torture is once again back in the news, since a Canadian band named Skinny Puppy reportedly sent an invoice to the US Government for $666,000 for the alleged use of their "industrial dance" music without permission for this purpose

Having been among the first - maybe even the first - to write about this issue from a copyright standopint back in 2008, before President Obama got elected and promised to close down Guantanamo, I got called by the Voice of Russia - formerly Radio Moscow - to be interviewed on this subject. How could I resist this interview, on the eve of #Sochi2014?

Seriously, I agreed to do this interview on the copyright aspects of music as torture because "black humour" is an important component of informed discussion about serious issues. I take no position on the underlying very serious political, diplomatic, military, counter-trerrorism, human rights, etc. issues involved - which are, to say the least, very complex and very serious. I'm just a Canadian copyright lawyer.

Of all of the issues involved with GITMO, copyright is undoubtedly the most trivial - but it's rather interesting, ironic and would make for a fantastic law school exam question or moot.

Anyway, here's the Voice of Russia article, with a link to a voice interview with your's truly.


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