Ladies and gentlemen, we have a shocking development in the stuffy confines of the Supreme Court of the United States: We have court justices who know who Jimi Hendrix is. That’s right: At least one of the nine people who ultimately decide our laws is aware of Jimi Hendrix, and specifically will use him to talk about copyright laws.
To wit: Last week, in the case Golan v. Holder, the court is considering whether or not an act of congress in 1994 that reestablished copyright protection for foreign works that were considered part of the public domain (such as symphonies by Shostakovich, which is the piece at the center of the case). When he was considering the implications of the law, Chief Justice John Roberts said this:
“What about Jimi Hendrix, right? He has a distinctive rendition of the national anthem, and assuming the national anthem is suddenly entitled to copyright protection that it wasn’t before, he can’t do that, right?”
So, our court may be mad conservative, and won’t pass marriage equality laws for some time, but at least their taste in music is into the 1960s. The case is expected to be ruled on soon, and had huge implications for symphony orchestras, who have relied on major works being part of the public domain. [NY Times]