To Us Nigh Miraculous

But to characterize the to us nigh miraculous processes whereby these images actuate airwaves so as to cause electronic changes in sets in millions of homes which are then “unscrambled” or “descanned” and thus produce pictures on television screens — along with the simultaneous electronic transmission of sound — as “analogous” to cinematography pushes the analogy beyond the breaking point.

Bartsch v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 391 F. 2d 150, 153 (2nd Cir. 1968) (Friendly, J.)

Also of note in the opinion is this, from the conclusion:

The risk that some May might find the nation’s television screens bereft of the annual display of “Maytime,” interlarded with the usual liberal diet of commercials, is not one a court can take lightly.


Id. at 155.

Somewhat ironic that those entrusted to decide issues of copyright are not entitled to it (AFAIK) for the wording of their court decisions.

Since I’ve become interested in law, I’ve come to appreciate that the practice of law is far from being a dry application of technique but can (sometimes) be no less creative than works which are generally held to be art.

I’m reminded of a quote which a friend of mine attributed to Marc Chagall (caveat: I’m probably butchering it because of my bad memory): “Doing everything out of love, that is true art.” I suppose it would be difficult to codify that into copyright law, though. :-)

“Doing everything out of love, “

You first.