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Milton Berle, Carlos Mencia, and Dane Cook walk into a bar

Given the expense and uncertainty of lawsuits, how does the comedy community enforce the proscription on joke theft? Part of an ongoing Slate series called The Humor Code.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Apr 1, 2014 - 45 comments

 

Your New Coffee Overlord

Green Mountain plans to launch "Keurig 2.0" this fall, a new set of machines that will only interact with Green-Mountain-approved pods. For a corporation, a lease is always going to be more attractive than a sale. If they can turn owners into users, they will.
posted by latkes on Mar 10, 2014 - 178 comments

Big Hairy Woman

With this song, 2 Live Crew basically took the distinctive bass riff from the original Orbison song and changed the lyrics in true Crew style. Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. is probably the seminal case for the modern application of the fair use doctrine. The lightning rod was 2 Live Crew and their allegedly parodic use of the "Pretty Woman" song. Instead of dismissing the Crew's claim on the basis that they had used the appropriated material for commercial gain, the court looked at the other factors of permissible fair use and determined that parody was indeed protected fair use, even though the perpetrators gained financially. [more inside]
posted by three blind mice on Mar 7, 2014 - 22 comments

The New Debunkonomy

@PicPedant (mefi's own) has attracted a loyal following in doing the Sisyphean work of calling out Twitter photo spammers and scraper accounts by tracking down, correcting and debunking images and giving attribution to the source. Twitter is awash in "interesting photo" accounts particularly since images started appearing in timelines -- some of the most successful of which may be the wildly popular @HistoryInPics and @EarthPix founded by 2 teenagers who allegedly earn $40,000+ a month. PicPedant's debunking can be vastly amusing. Here are a few greatest hits: no, not a baby panda but an Etsy doll; no, not Japanese cherry trees but an infrared scene from Stockholm; no, not a real moon, but a photo manipulation. He's even called out Madonna for lack of attribution on an image that went viral after her tweet. Keep on keepin' on, you crazy pedant.
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 14, 2014 - 30 comments

Why should someone get to profit from something they did fifty years ago

"So why should a singer get to profit from a recording of his doing some work thirty-five years ago? The answer “because it’s his song” just isn’t good enough. It was PC Ironburns’ arrest. “But creating that song may have taken years!” PC Ironburns spent years investigating the crimes before he caught that pesky crim! The electrician had to study for years to become proficient enough to rig up lighting. The doctor spent seven years in medical school! Imagine if this system we wholly accept from creative industries were accepted elsewhere – the ensuing chaos would be extraordianry. Take Broussard’s claim above, that “Creatives have a right to be paid indefinitely on their work”, and switch out “Creatives” for any other job. “Dentists”, “teachers”, “librarians”, “palaeontologists”… It starts to appear a little ludicrous." -- Rock Paper Shotgun's John Walker on copyright and the need for videogames to enter the public domain.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 3, 2014 - 238 comments

KAPOW! CRASH! OOOOFF!

We are certainly in an age of DVD saturation for TV shows. The few titles that have taken their time have been usually due to copyright complications (such as "Daria" and "WKRP", both of which had to replace their soundtracks in order to get released). Now comes news that one of the last great home video holdouts is finally being set free: The 1960's "Batman" starring Adam West will be released on DVD later this year.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jan 15, 2014 - 85 comments

Every Penny You Make

Sting makes $2,000 a day because Puffy Daddy and his record label didn't bother clearing the rights when they sampled "Every Breath You Take" for "I'll Be Missing You." Even though Andy Summers wrote the guitar line that you hear. It's still a sensitive subject.
posted by goatdog on Jan 6, 2014 - 126 comments

Beatles for sale

Copyright laws force Apple to release 59 Beatles tracks. "The only reason why they are doing this is to retain the copyright of this bootlegged material."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 6, 2014 - 52 comments

"congress shrugged"

If it weren't for the 1976 Copyright Act, copyright on work would expire after 56 years - which would have meant that Kerouac's On The Road, the original 12 Angry Men, and Elvis's All Shook Up would be public domain by today.
posted by divabat on Dec 31, 2013 - 38 comments

A lot of public domain images

The British Library has posted more than a million public domain images on Flickr.
posted by jiawen on Dec 14, 2013 - 23 comments

YouTube's aggressive robot approach to copyright

A furious 18-minute rant posted Wednesday has drawn attention to YouTube's new automatic content ID system, implemented in earnest this week.

VentureBeat: YouTube suddenly begins flagging hundreds of game-related videos for copyright violations
Ars Technica: YouTube goes nuts flagging game-related content as violating copyright

Any copyright claim against a video immediately results in the removal of ad revenue at the moment the claim is made, even if 1) that content is clearly fair use, 2) the game companies who own the content say they're not making a claim (like Deep Silver, which posted a statement assuring reviewers they "will not be alone in this"), or 3) the claim comes from an odd third party who doesn't appear to have a clear ownership interest. Kotaku has good quotes from gamers who strongly disagree with YouTube's claim that "channel owners can easily dispute Content ID claims if they believe those claims are invalid." Earlier today, Angry Joe posted a calmer, more detailed 31-minute video: Whats Broken & How to Fix it.
posted by mediareport on Dec 13, 2013 - 74 comments

Gotta fight for your right...

Toy-startup GoldieBlox (previously) had already proven their marketing savvy - then their new commercial went viral, and might even earn them an on-air spot during the Superbowl. But now they've got a lawsuit on their hands - brought by the Beastie Boys. [more inside]
posted by progosk on Nov 23, 2013 - 204 comments

"As always, they are published without Medvedev’s permission."

america: a prophecy, by Kirill Medvedev [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 30, 2013 - 7 comments

"A free public domain version of Fantasia is far too expensive"

In 2018, will Mickey Mouse enter the public domain? [more inside]
posted by Sebmojo on Oct 29, 2013 - 84 comments

BitTorrent site Isohunt shutting down after MPAA lawsuit defeat

isoHunt shuts down, Vancouver operator ordered to pay $110 million US fine A Vancouver resident has agreed to shut down his popular downloading website and pay a $110-million fine after settling a long legal fight with the Motion Picture Association of America. Gary Fung ran isohunt.com, a search engine for BitTorrent files, which helped users find virtually every type of copyrighted material, including music, movies, computer software, ebooks and pornography. As of Friday, the site stated it linked to 13.7 million active BitTorrent files with 51 million users either uploading or download them. According to Alexa.com, it ranked as the 423rd top site on the web for global traffic and 167th in Canada. On his blog, Fung said he was "sad to see my baby go." [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Oct 18, 2013 - 84 comments

Black Flag v. Flag

SST label honcho Greg Ginn's lawsuit against the other former members of Black Flag, several of whom now playing as Flag, isn't going so well. Henry Rollins isn't playing with either group, but is also named in the suit. Both groups (Ginn, 1979 vocalist Ron Reyes, and hired hands playing as Black Flag, the others playing as Flag) been on tour this summer.
posted by larrybob on Oct 11, 2013 - 98 comments

That's what I waaaaaa-aaaaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaant, yeah

You've more than likely heard this early recording of Money by the Beatles, or perhaps this version by the Rolling Stones. But Barrett Strong, the man who originally recorded it and who was the primary songwriter hasn't shared in the millions of dollars the song has earned over the years.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 2, 2013 - 30 comments

NSA stands for No Sense of Humor

The NSA: The only part of the government that actually listens. The NSA seal is protected by Public Law 86-36, which states that it is not permitted for “…any person to use the initials ‘NSA,’ the words ‘National Security Agency’ and the NSA seal without first acquiring written permission from the Director of NSA."
posted by three blind mice on Sep 1, 2013 - 72 comments

A Blanket Policy on Open Access

A new open-access policy adopted by the University of California, effective November 1, provides a license to the university system which allows it to publish articles in eScholarship, the system's free online paper repository. Criticism hinges on the policy's seemingly flexible opt-out provision. Ars Technica. Chronicle of Higher Education.
posted by Apropos of Something on Aug 3, 2013 - 8 comments

"I have no reason to expect compensation"

How DC Contracts Work. Mark Waid, author of Superman: Birthright (drawn on heavily for the recent film Man of Steel), "explains how professionals are generally compensated for working on company-owned characters".
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jul 25, 2013 - 46 comments

KIMOTA!

Who owns Marvelman? Part I and part II - the concluding chapters of Padraig O Mealoid's epic 16 part history of one of comic's most disputed characters. meanwhile another hole in comics history is about to be filled in as Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's Zenith finally gets collected in full.
posted by Artw on Jun 2, 2013 - 15 comments

So how DOES copyright work in space?

Chris Hadfield has captured the world's heart, judging by the 14m YouTube views of his free-fall rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity", recorded on the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian astronaut's clear voice and capable guitar-playing were complemented by his facility in moving around in the microgravity of low-earth orbit. But when the man fell to Earth in a neat and safe descent a few days ago, after a five-month stay in orbit, should he have been greeted by copyright police?
posted by DiesIrae on May 23, 2013 - 58 comments

He's dead, Jim.

To update followers of the Prenda Law porn-trolling copyright lawyers saga, Judge Wright has just issued a catastrophic order [.pdf] imposing sanctions and making criminal referrals, entertainingly littered with Star Trek references.
posted by T.D. Strange on May 6, 2013 - 70 comments

Dear Craig: Voluntarily Dismiss with Prejudice

Over at the Freedom to Tinker blog, Steve Schultze posts about a recent ruling against Craigslist in their suit against PadMapper an online service that helps users of craigslist via mapping, and 3Taps, a platform that documents and stores historical transaction information... Craigslist responded by filing 17 claims... [more inside]
posted by symbioid on May 1, 2013 - 28 comments

Ownership of your digital works is no longer automatic in the UK

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act changes UK copyright law so that only a "diligent search" for ownership is required before a work is considered "orphaned", and put into extended collective licensing. This is one part of a larger act that is supposed to "modernise the UK’s copyright regime to promote innovation in the design industry, encouraging investment in new products while strengthening copyright protections. " Pundits are comparing this to Instagram's assertion of ownership over its users' works last year.
posted by boo_radley on Apr 29, 2013 - 24 comments

"I started to worry you'd never come."

One day, a small boy's holographic entertainment fails, so he heads out to explore the streets of abandoned shops outside. Down a forgotten alley he discovers the last ever bookshop. And inside, an ancient shopkeeper has been waiting over 25 years for a customer...The Last Bookshop
posted by Toekneesan on Apr 19, 2013 - 26 comments

The Parade of Horrors is Delayed

The Supreme Court has held that the First Sale Doctrine applies to copyrighted material manufactured and sold abroad. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by anewnadir on Mar 19, 2013 - 87 comments

The Atlantic - Benj Edwards

The Copyright Rule We Need to Repeal If We Want to Preserve Our Cultural Heritage
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 15, 2013 - 34 comments

“DOJ Admits Aaron [Swartz] Prosecution Was Political”

Steven Reich told the House that Aaron Swartz’s Guerilla Open Access Manifesto played an important role in the DOJ's decision to prosecute him. (previously) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Mar 6, 2013 - 97 comments

It's a country opening up

The Pirate Bay has announced via a blog post that they will be using North Korea as a haven to serve pages without facing prosecution from copyright authorities. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Mar 4, 2013 - 77 comments

USTR still pushing ACTA on Canada

Canada's Harper government has introduced an ACTA compliance bill at the behest of the USTR, despite the treaty being dead elsewhere. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Mar 2, 2013 - 18 comments

Is this a new law?

New anti-piracy system will hit U.S. Internet users next week. And here's a primer on the Copyright Alerts System (CAS) or six strikes system, also from the Daily Dot.
posted by subdee on Feb 24, 2013 - 173 comments

Disorganized Criminals

A documentary on the trial surrounding the creators of The Pirate Bay.
posted by holmesian on Feb 9, 2013 - 14 comments

I Am Not A Mouse

"Escape From Tomorrow" is playing at the Sundance 2013 Film Festival. The black and white movie describes one family man's mental disintegration over a day at Disney's Orlando park. Randy Moore directed the film on-site without the knowledge of Disney. Reviews are generally good, with comparisons to The Truman Show and Eraserhead, though people who have seen it wonder how this will play out legally. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jan 20, 2013 - 33 comments

Buffy vs Edward vs Lionsgate

Buffy vs Edward: Twilight Remixed (previously), a textbook example of fair use, has been removed from YouTube after Lionsgate's attempts to monetize with ads it were met with resistance by the video's creator. "This is what a broken copyright enforcement system looks like." [more inside]
posted by ODiV on Jan 9, 2013 - 37 comments

One Nation Under a Court Order

What do the songs The Electric Spanking of War Babies, Uncle Jam, Hardcore Jollies and One Nation Under a Groove all have in common? Well, sure, they were all written (with a collaborator here and there) by Mr. George Clinton. But that's not all they have in common. As of now, the copyright in these booty-shaker workouts does not belong to the legendary P. Funk mastermind, but rather to the law firm of Hendricks and Lewis. Funk Classics Seized to Pay Off $1 Million Debt.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 6, 2013 - 34 comments

TIRED OF BRAND X?

An insert house provides labels and covers for products in TV and film production to avoid legal problems and Earl Hays Press is the big granddaddy of them all so why not enter an alternate off-brand universe of Butt Beer, Captain Sugarr, and Sports Page today?
posted by The Whelk on Jan 4, 2013 - 54 comments

"What books would be entering the public domain if we [the US] had the pre-1978 copyright laws?"

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2013?:'Under the law that existed until 1978 … Works from 1956.' Yesterday was Public Domain Day, with many works entering the public domain, depending on jurisdiction. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 2, 2013 - 54 comments

ARTISTS MAKE LOUSY SLAVES

Singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked "used to be a poet." Who would "write, late into the night, by candlelight." But now, according to a statement [PDF] solicited by the US Copyright office about the current state of royalty payments for songwriters "I work in a candle factory. I scrape flesh from skins of carcasses and process rendered fat into lumpy bars with wicks." [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 17, 2012 - 39 comments

Twilight of the idolators?

And in today's fun IPR news we have Games Workshop VS. Chapterhouse Studios. In which the plaintiffs lawyers are claiming (p.44) copyright and design dress on common iconography such as crosses, skulls and riveted armor. But to get at the gist of it, what makes third party miniature wargaming accessories different to bodykits? Where doth this madness lead. [more inside]
posted by xcasex on Nov 19, 2012 - 55 comments

Blatant ripoff? Or "close to the line"? You decide

Enforcing your visual copyright is easier if you register your work. Li Zheng taught fine art at Appalachian State 20 years ago, then began selling his paintings to galleries. After a hiatus in China, he returned to America to discover one of his paintings is being mass produced and sold at Kohl's, JC Penneys, and at least 2 dozen other retailers, including -- busted! -- artheist.com "it's a steal!" Main link has original, copy, and describes his uphill legal battle.
posted by surplus on Nov 19, 2012 - 14 comments

By securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets. (PDF) [more inside]
posted by dsfan on Nov 17, 2012 - 97 comments

Rijksmuseum remix

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, home to Rembrandt's The Night Watch and Vermeer's The Milkmaid, among many other masterpieces, today unveiled the Rijksstudio, 125,000 digitized images of its collections, available in a zoomable interface online or as high-resolution public-domain downloads (account creation required for the latter).
posted by Horace Rumpole on Oct 31, 2012 - 31 comments

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

She sat zazen, concentrating on not concentrating, until it was time to prepare for the appointment. Sitting seemed to produce the usual serenity, put everything in perspective. Her hand did not tremble as she applied her make-up; tranquil features looked back at her from the mirror. She was mildly surprised, in fact, at just how calm she was, until she got out of the hotel elevator at the garage level and the mugger made his play. She killed him instead of disabling him. Which was obviously not a measured, balanced action--the official fuss and paperwork could make her late. Annoyed at herself, she stuffed the corpse under a shiny new Westinghouse roadable whose owner she knew to be in Luna, and continued on to her own car. This would have to be squared later, and it would cost. No help for it--she fought to regain at least the semblance of tranquillity as her car emerged from the garage and turned north. Nothing must interfere with this meeting, or with her role in it. "Melancholy Elephants," an enthralling, Hugo Award-winning short story by Spider Robinson about a disciplined operative, a powerful senator, and a crucial mission to preserve humanity's most precious resource. (some spoilers inside) [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 27, 2012 - 14 comments

The Copyright Alert System

Over the course of the next two months, each participating ISP [*AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon] expects to begin rolling out its version of the [Copyright Alert System] – a system through which ISPs will pass on to their subscribers notices sent by content owners alleging copyright infringement over peer-to-peer networks. Educational alerts will come first, followed by acknowledgement alerts that require the recipients to let their ISP know they have received the notices. For accounts where alleged infringing activity continues, enhanced alerts that contain “mitigation measures” will follow. - Jill Lesser, Executive Director, Center for Copyright Information [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 21, 2012 - 136 comments

Benn Jordan tries using the DMCA

“These companies are willing to shove 1,000 attorneys down your throat if you share music, but won’t even respond to a legal order about actual music theft and piracy.” -Benn Jordan [via] [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 17, 2012 - 23 comments

Copyright Criminals

Copyright Criminals, the 2009 PBS Documentary, discusses the complex artistic and legal history of sampling in music, featuring interviews with both the samplers (Chuck D, De La Soul, Shock G, El-P, DJ Qbert) and the sampled (George Clinton and Clyde Stubblefield). via egotrip
posted by chrchr on Oct 1, 2012 - 15 comments

Click me. Not.

Pirate Party Politician Doesn't Want You Pirating Her Book. Senior German Pirate Party board member Julia Schramm has a vision for a utopian Internet: a "huge library" where "the knowledge and stories of all people are united, collected and archived" free of charge and free of "disgusting" intellectual property. [more inside]
posted by three blind mice on Sep 22, 2012 - 67 comments

Loophole antennas

Suppose I could offer you a choice of two technologies for watching TV online. Behind Door Number One sits a free-to-watch service that uses off-the-shelf technology and that buffers just enough of each show to put the live stream on the Internet. Behind Door Number Two lies a subscription service that requires custom-designed hardware and makes dozens of copies of each show. Which sounds easier to build—and to use? More importantly, which is more likely to be legal? If you went with Door Number One, then you are a sane person, untainted by the depravity of modern copyright law. But you are also wrong. The company behind Door Number One, iCraveTV, was enjoined out of existence a decade ago. The company behind Door Number Two, Aereo, just survived its first round in court and is still going strong. Why Johnny can't stream: How video copyright went insane by MeFi's own James Grimmelmann.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Aug 30, 2012 - 18 comments

"No one but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money"

Tim Parks has two interesting articles at the NYRB: Does Money Make Us Write Better? and Does Copyright Matter?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 23, 2012 - 48 comments

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