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Ukraine: The Separation of Powers in Government

The Hetmanate region in central Ukraine has approved a constitution outlining a separation of powers into Legislative, Administrative and Judicial branches. The constitution was written by the Ukrainian Cossack named Philip Orlick (actually: Pylyp Orlyk), a military leader and diplomat who has been recently elected Hetman, the first officer, one step below a king or prince. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK, let's not get too excited. The Hetman State of the 18th century was about as independent as Hungary was in 1956 right before Soviet tanks came rolling into Republic Square. Peter the Great considered the Hetman region to be a military state to be dealt with right after Sweden. Russia was in a war with Sweden and the King of Sweden just LOVED the Hetman State. He loved anything that tipped over Peter the Great's applecart. A hetman is like a military governor so comparing the Ukrainian constitution (which defined a military government with most rights granted to the Cossack elite) as something equivalent to the United States Constitution is a stretch, but it's a start. [7]

The Copyright Act is Passed

The Statute of Anne (that is, The Copyright Act under Queen Anne of England) is passed into law in 1710. It is the first law to make copyright enforcement a government responsibility. Printers are copying books without compensating the author. Since the public good depends upon authors writing books, and authors have the expectation of compensation, violators are fined one penny per page (which adds up fast) provided that the author has registered his work with the government copyright office first. This allows a printer to check for copyright protection before running off a copy of a book. The period of protection extends for 21 years. [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The United States passed its first copyright law in 1790. It allowed protection for 14 years with an option for an additional 14 years if the author was still alive. Years later the law added a criminal penalty for a public performance of a work for profit without permission. Then copyright was extended to 28 years with an option for renewal. Europe followed a stricter standard so in order to normalize copyright standards, the USA extended copyright to 70 years after the death of the author. This has created a strange protection for dead authors whose works have some value but are treated as if they had created Disney's Mickey Mouse. (I think I can hear the zombie of Walt Disney kicking in my front door right now.) If I scanned two pages of a book and put it on the Internet, I would be a criminal even if I gave credit to the author. The FBI will also put me in prison if I dare make an archive copy of a DVD THAT I BOUGHT. Fair use copy rules are so complex that it would be a miracle if I haven't already violated the rules. The only reason that I am not on my way to Devil's Island right now is that thousands and thousands of people are doing the same thing so I am lost in the noise... until I come under scrutiny for something else... like running for public office. [11]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1710, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Bendery, Constitution of. encyclopediaofukraine.com (2016). Retrieved on 15 January 2016. “Articles 6–10 limited the powers of the hetman and established a unique Cossack parliament, similar to an extended council of officers, which met three times a year. The council was to consist not only of the general staff and the regimental colonels, but also of 'an outstanding and worthy individual from each regiment.’ Articles 11–16 protected the rights of towns, limited the taxation of peasants and poor Cossacks, and restricted the innkeepers. In the introduction to the constitution, Ukraine's independence of Russia and Poland was stipulated as a precondition.”
  2. Hetman state. Encyclopedia of Ukraine.com (2016). Retrieved on 15 January 2016. “Hetman state or Hetmanate (Hetmanshchyna). (Maps: Hetman state ca 1650; Hetman state ca 1750.) The name of the Ukrainian Cossack state, which existed from 1648 to 1782. It came into existence as a result of the Cossack-Polish War and the alliance of the registered Cossacks with the Cossacks of the Zaporozhian Sich and other segments of the Ukrainian populace.”
  3. Constitution of Ukraine (Adopted at the Fifth Session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 28 June 1996) (2016). Archived from the original on March 2, 2008. Retrieved on 15 January 2016.
  4. Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy. usukraine.org (2016). Retrieved on 15 January 2016. “The Constitution also limited the executive authority of the hetman and established a democratically elected Cossack parliament called the General Council. Predating the classic example of an expression of democratic polity – the American Constitution of 1777 – by over 65 years, the Orlyk Constitution testifies to the long-standing traditions of democracy in Ukraine.”
  5. Тhe Pylyp Orlyk Constitution, 1710. League of Ukrainian Canadians (2016). Retrieved on 15 January 2016. “The Pylyp Orlyk Constitution is regarded as the first in the world to establish the separation of government powers into the legislative, executive and judicial branches. The document consists of a preamble and sixteen articles. According to the constitution, legislative power was vested in the General Council (parliament), which was to hold three annual sessions. The Hetman and the General Staff Council constituted the executive branch, while legal matters fell under the jurisdiction of the General Court. Thus the Ukrainian constitution of 1710 preceded those of the United States, France and Poland, and attested to the democratic thinking of the Ukrainian Cossack elite.”
  6. Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 28 December 2014.
  7. Age of Enlightenment - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 January 2016. “The Americans Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson came to Europe during the period and contributed actively to the scientific and political debate, and the ideals of the Enlightenment were incorporated into the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.”
  8. Statute of Anne - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 14 January 2016. “The Statute of Anne, also known as the Copyright Act 1709 (cited either as 8 Ann. c. 21 or as 8 Ann. c. 19), is an act of the Parliament of Great Britain passed in 1710, which was the first statute to provide for copyright regulated by the government and courts, rather than by private parties.”
  9. History of Copyright: Statute of Anne, 1710. CopyrightHistory.com (2009). Retrieved on 15 January 2016. “Several monographs on copyright date this text to 1709. However, 1710 is the correct date, see John Feather, The Book Trade in Politics: The Making of the Copyright Act of 1710, 'Publishing History', 19(8), 1980, p. 39 (note 3).”
  10. Alex Shrugged notes: In the custom of English Law, bills are dated in the year that they are submitted and not when they are passed.
  11. Criminal Copyright Law in the United States - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 January 2016. “The first criminal provision in U.S. copyright law was added in 1897, which established a misdemeanor penalty for 'unlawful performances and representations of copyrighted dramatic and musical compositions' if the violation had been 'willful and for profit.'[4] The length of protection has been increasing since the Copyright Act of 1909, which extended the term of copyright to 28 years with an optional 28-year extension.[5] At present, copyright protection lasts for the author’s life plus 70 years or, in the case of anonymous works and works-for-hire, for 95 years from the date of publication or 120 from the year of creation, whichever expires first.”

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