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COMMENTARY Comment on "Data Morphing: Ownership, Copyright and Creation" As a fellow attorney, I would like to commend author Curtis E.A. Karnow for his fine article con­ cerning data morphing and its relationship to copyright law (Leonardo 27, No. 2, 117-122, 1994). The article was written in 1993, and many of the issues he raises will be the subject matter of hear­ ings scheduled in Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles in 1994 with a view toward making recom­ mendations to the U.S. Congress, which is considering revisions to copyright law. In the interim, unresolved disputes continue to go to court, despite the fact that areas of the copyright law have not kept up with technology. Judges are pragmatic people who do not have the option of abstaining from a decision by putting flowers into the rifle barrels of opposing litigants. Ajudgment for money owed and/or an injunction issued is reality, and there is nothing virtual about its economic effects. The author has unintentionally illustrated the main issue raised in his article. In Note 3 (p. 121), Karnow says that "animations flitter across the display" of a home video-game screen. This is an ex­ ample of linguistic "morphing." If the words "flit" and "flutter" were subject to being copyrighted (and had been copyrighted) and the author had intentionally used those words in combination to create the new word "flitter," would those who owned the copyright have a legitimate claim for in­ fringement? If the parties were unable to negotiate a settlement themselves, ajudge would have to make a decision. The author would be running the risk that his flitter of virtual reality might gen­ erate a money judgment against him that would have to be satisfied by the glitter of his gold. JOHN F. KALBEN Attorney at Law 1418 Norton Building Seattle, WA 98104-1509 U.S.A. 80 LEONARDO, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp.80, 1995 © 1995ISAST ...


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