BLOG POST RESPONSE 1: TO CAOIMHE’S BLOG POST

“Possession is 9/10 of the law” is an old legal saying which means that ownership is easier to maintain if one has the possession of something.  An example which illustrates that principle is the ongoing battle over the ownership of the “Parthenon Marbles”.  The fact that the British Museum have the marbles in their possession, whether legitimately or not, aids the enforcement of their ownership claims.  In his article Possession Is 99% of the Law: 3D Printing, Public Domain Cultural Artefacts and Copyright, Charles Cronin alludes to that ancient saying by asserting that museums and other owners of public domain artefacts claim that having artefacts in their possession is all they need to assert their rights of ownership, and even copyright, over the originals and their reproductions.  I disagree with Caoimhe’s opinion, which interprets the title and some of Cronin’s arguments as being supportive of this claim.  I think that Cronin does not agree that possession, or even ownership of an artefact, gives the owner copyright in the original work or in the reproductions of it.  Cronin asserts that this practice is misleading (Cronin, 715) and fraudulent (Cronin, 721).  The author explicitly states that “…owners of public domain works ……have no legitimate copyright in the works in their possession, or copies derived from them” (Cronin, 716-717).  On the other hand, the author agrees that exercising control over the artefacts and copies/reproductions of them can be legally exercised through contracts and licenses due to the principle of freedom of contract and the lack of provision of rights of users in public domain works in Copyright Law (Cronin, 727).  Based on my interpretation of Cronin’s arguments I disagree with Caoimhe’s assertion that Cronin perpetrates the rule that possession is 99% of the law in relation to artefacts in the public domain.