Lawyers for Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson recently sent a cease and desist letter
(pdf) to CafePress. The reason? To halt sales of all unauthorized Ben Carson For President products, based on the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act, The Lanham Act, Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Copyright Infringement, state misappropriation and privacy laws." [more inside]
Can you claim copyright on a list of words? When it comes to Scrabble, Hasbro seems to think so
. This isn't the first time
they've filed copyright claims related to the game, though it may not have been so effective.
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]
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]
the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed
the lower court decision (Cariou v Prince
) determining that 25 of the 30 Richard Prince Canal Zone
paintings using appropriated images from Patrick Cariou's Yes Rasta
book fall under Fair Use. The remaining 5 paintings were remanded back to the District Court to determine if they also fall under the Fair Use Doctrine with the now clarified proper standard. previously
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]
The Hathi Trust
, a partnership between 66 universities and 3 higher education consortia, is breathing a little easier now that Judge Harold Baer, Jr. of New York's Southern District has found
that the Trust was within its fair use rights
to allow Google to scan member library holdings, and then making the resulting files available for the reading impaired, and for use in search indexing and data mining. While this is excellent news
for the educational institutions involved, it doesn't completely exonerate Google's role in the scanning project. It's notable that just last week Google abandoned it's own fair use claim
in settling a different case involving the same book scanning project. Of the four factors used when considering fair use cases
, Judge Baer ruled on the side of the Hathi Trust on all four.
Canada's Supreme Court has ruled on 5 copyright-related issues.
Internet providers do not have to pay copyright fees when their consumers download or preview music, and teachers don't have to pay fees when they photocopy copyrighted materials for their students. [more inside]
Prince v. Cariou, Round 2: Money Talks
Prince v. Cariou oral arguments were heard today by a three Judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. In many ways, the future of appropriation art (and Google’s image search, possibly) rests on the outcome of this case. And if today’s arguments are any indication, neither side is going to go down without a fight. [more inside]
The Stolen Scream
. In 2006, photographer Noam Galai
posted a handful of dramatic self-portraits to Flickr
. Unbeknownst to him, his screaming face slowly took on a life of its own (often as a symbol of unrest or protest), appearing in countless permutations
the world over. In this mini-documentary, Noam is surprisingly pragmatic about his accidental fame, and the fact that he only got paid once for the legal use of the picture.
"Weird" Al Yankovic wanted to do a parody
of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," so he did what he usually does: he contacted the artist and asked permission. Lady Gaga said she'd have to hear the lyrics, so Weird Al wrote the lyrics and sent them to her. Gaga then said she's have to actually hear the song, so Weird Al went into the studio and recorded it - at which point Gaga refused to give her permission. Weird Al responded by doing something he's never done in his entire career: he's asserted his fair use rights and made an unapproved parody available to the public
How to avoid visiting any Stephens Group publications
even by accident, if you use FireFox. The Stephens Group (AKA Righthaven) has been suing bloggers who link to and quote any of their publications' web sites. (Such as
.) So now there's a FireFox plugin you can use to make sure you don't visit any of them. Use it in good health.
is popular dance music from northeastern Brazil. Forró em Vinil
is a blog with out of catalog forró gems for download. But wait, is this legal? [more inside]
YouTube allows fair use defense.
Under a new policy, users claiming fair use in videos previously taken down due to a copyright claim will be restored, and the claimant forced to file a formal complaint under DMCA. [more inside]
and the Fair Use Project
have dropped Shepard Fairey
's case after he admitted he lied and submitted false evidence
in his suit against the Associated Press. (Previously
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has found himself in a bit of an imbroglio this week. Having attended the state funeral of former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc
, the evangelical Harper has been accused of pocketing a communion wafer
, an action considered "seriously offensive" by Catholics [scroll down for explanation]
. But as professor of Internet and E-commerce law Michael Geist notes
, the confusing thing about the controversy isn't whether the PM did or didn't eat the wafer
(or even whether he should have been offered it in the first place
), but rather why Societe Radio-Canada (the French name for the government-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has yanked a video of the incident
from YouTube. [more inside]
Getting smart about personal technology.
NYTimes publishes Sonia Zjawinski's assertion that other peoples' images on Flickr are probably OK to download, blow up and use to decorate her house: And if you’re wondering about copyright issues (after all, these aren’t my photos), the photos are being used by me for my own, private, noncommercial use. I’m not selling these things and not charging admission to my apartment, so I think I’m in the clear. [more inside]
In Buffy Vs. Edward (Twilight Remixed), Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer at Sunnydale High
. It's an example of transformative storytelling serving as a visual critique of Edward's character and generally creepy behavior. Seen through Buffy's eyes some of the more patriarchal gender roles and sexist Hollywood tropes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed in hilarious ways.
(Previous Twilight discussion on MeFi
is a website that lets you mix and match
online images to make fashion sets
. While it has received favour from Web 2.0 pundits
, fashion bloggers
, and major craft blogs
, it has also drawn massive ire
from artists that claim copyright infringement
and use of personal photos
. The anti-Polyvore pressure mainly comes from Etsy sellers
, with some support from artists on DeviantArt
, Red Buddle
, and independent artists
- all coming together on Flickr
. We Heart It
are also seen as suspect. While Polyvore tries to assuage copyright fears
, amidst growing pressure to shut down
, many of Polyvore's current users are counter-petitioning for the site to stay
Mashup artist Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk
, is another artist to try the 'pay whatever you want' Internet release model. However, his 55-minute album
consists of over 300 samples from other artists, with many current and past hits. No stranger to current controversies in copyright, Gillis also appeared in the documentary Good Copy Bad Copy
. Previously. [more inside]
The Washington Post give the Associated Press the banhammer
. It seems the A.P. doesn't like some blogs
for using its headlines and excerpts. It's fair use, but A.P. disagrees. NYTimes take
. [more inside]
80 years of Found Footage Filmmaking...
The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty
Night and Fog 2 3 4 5 6 7
"We are losing much of the history of the twentieth century because the copyright industries are more litigious than ever."
A cogent "primer for reporters [and others] who find themselves lost in the copyright jungle" in the age of Google and the DMCA.
Somebody at the ad agency for Nike Skateboarding
must be a Minor Threat
fan -- they recreated one of the band's album covers
for the marketing of Nike's Major Threat Tour
. Did they ask permission, though? No.
is better known as People Like Us
, and just so happens to be the anointed queen
. Her music is comprised almost entirely of uncleared samples
and has avoided lawsuit
only by virtue of their (and her own) obscurity. Similar in style and sense of humor
to The Evolution Control Committee
and the (amazing, really, really amazing) Avalanches
, you'll find nearly
her entire body of work here
"You can't copyright anything on the Internet" Retrocrush posted an article written by thier own, to point out the "Worst Sex Scenes Ever" in the movies. Less than 30days later, the british tabloid "The Daily Star" printed an article that seems to have come directly from the site, attributing the source to a (seemingly fictitous) american magazine called "Film". Not only did the Star's news editor make the above quote, but the story was picked up by a wire service, and has seen print in several other online and print publications... Obviously it's not Fair Use. What would happen if reporters came here looking for ideas?
Fox Loses Bid to Stop Sale of Franken Book
"There are hard cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case," said U.S. District Judge Denny Chin. "This case is wholly without merit both factually and legally." As so many of us
understood without the need for big expensive lawyers.
Another way around sneaky agreements
: A Californian is suing
(PDF) Microsoft and Symantec over shrink-wrapped agreements and EULAs that are only readable when you first install the software, making a return or refund absolutely impossible. Many courts have upheld shrinkwrap licenses
. Conversely, reverse engineering has been determined to constitute fair use
. If this case sets a precedent, could we see abridged legalese on the side of future boxes or a rethinking of software licensing trends
? Or will the cluttered tower of consumer rights, protection for software companies and code evolution and innovation topple over?
A call to rally to protect our digital rights
Legislation introduced in Congress to allow continued fair use of digital media. Other links at story site.
Copy protection of music CDs is morally wrong, and as Americans we can and must assert our rights to Fair Use of the media we have purchased. But I give it to the Germans: they have figured out a way to defeat Cactus DATA Shield 100/200 and KeyAudio
. [translated from German by Google]
U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher On Why The DMCA Sucks
has a Great Editorial
by Rick Boucher
who says traditional "fair use" rights are at the foundation of the receipt and use of information by the American people, and those rights are now under attack.
He goes on to say Congress agreed to a fundamentally flawed bill, which created the new crime of circumvention--a crime divorced from over a century and a half of respect for the fair-use rights of consumers. The DMCA, as enacted, quite clearly tilted the balance in the Copyright Act toward complete protection and away from information availability.
"Consider the implications. A time may soon come when what is available for free on library shelves will only be available on a pay-per-use basis. It would be a simple matter for a copyright owner to impose a requirement that a small fee be paid each time a digital book or video documentary is accessed by a library patron. Even the student who wants even the most basic access to only a portion of the book to write a term paper would have to pay to avoid committing a crime."
Librarians targeted in latest copyright battles.
What, did you think the copyright monopolists were going to forget about librarians defending fair use
Free as Air, Free as Water, Free as Knowledge
: is my favorite link to quote people these days. I like especially the references to Ben Franklin
. How do we resolve the problem of fair use
in a market driven world? Dan Gillmor's latest column
, which calls for people to get active on the issue of fair use, brought the speech once again to mind.
Be very afraid.
The only real solution to this is backlash and boycott. Technical solutions to "InTether" are inadequate (especially since every such will be a violation of the DMCA
). If content vendors will only sell their material this way, don't buy!
(Ultimately, it's going to take an act of Congress to straighten this all out. How about a law making it illegal to prevent "fair use"?)
Librarians against UCITA.
Librarians on the forefront of preserving the public's right to fair use in copyright law. Kiss your local librarian and ALA
member today! For more information, see the ALA UCITA Web site
. [Courtesy of ALAWON
Napster Says RIAA Trying to Stifle Technology.
Aw yeah, it's nice to see Napster get on the offensive. Armed with data showing that CD sales have increased with the rise in mp3 trading, Napster is now alleging that record companies are against the software because it reduces their 100% control of the music distribution business. But will a court allow Napster to go on while their users walk the fair-use tightrope?
Found this over at Free Advice
in regards to the Elian Gonzalez Spoof Movie:
WHAT IS "FAIR USE" WITH RESPECT TO A COPYRIGHT?
Copyrighted work may be used for certain limited purposes by people other than the owner under the doctrine of "fair use." "Fair use" includes reproduction for specific purposes such as:
criticism and comment, including parody
I beleive that the movie is protected. How else could have the South Park used the photo in last night's episode? I doubt the AP is going to go head to head with Comedy Central over the issue.
It is just easy for big companies to threaten the little people and know that they will win. What a shame.