Just when you thought you had it all sussed out
July 16, 2008 3:42 AM   Subscribe

Copyright, copywrong, copyleft, copyWHAT?! Peter Hirtle is no stranger to the questions surrounding copyright and the use of public domain materials. He has been thoroughl in researching and referencing other's work in this area. Peter's handy little chart could not have been more timely; it was really long overdue. But it really just gets overwhelming sometimes ... I blame it all on that d*m**d mouse!

DISCLAIMER: I've actually met Peter. Professionally. More than once, even. Heck of nice guy.
posted by aldus_manutius (16 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
So my question is: is this necessarily complex, or unnecessarily complex? Fascinating, despite the fact that my head now hurts.
posted by nax at 3:51 AM on July 16, 2008

nax, THAT was my reaction when I found this latest one, too! And Peter's an articulate guy who can explain things easily ... I tell you, it's that MOUSE! That and Sonny Bono!
posted by aldus_manutius at 4:05 AM on July 16, 2008

And let's not even get started on who even *owns* the copyright on works of art-- the "author" or the owner of the work? When I was working as an artist (20 years ago) the law seemed to be that you sold the rights to the image along with the physical work. I don't see that on the chart. (Why am I asking for even more complexity...).

Because of course when some of my old works start appearing everywhere, I'm totally going to want to collect.
posted by nax at 5:19 AM on July 16, 2008

Needs a separate entry (or section) for Disney: In perpetuity.
posted by DU at 5:22 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

nax, Peter is strictly talking about text works, though a lot of what is there pertains to "works of art" and all that that entails. My last understanding of this was that you may, or may not, have some control over the image, post-sale, but that it was dependent upon the terms of the sale. It IS awfully complex and I am not sure for the better.

dabitch, I'm not aware of any TinyURLs changing over time; that may well be ... of course, this one was to a Google search of Peter, so if anyone is really interested, they'll know what to do (hence my parenthetical comment). And I really wasn't sure how else to reference such a search here ...

DU, yeah, no kidding.

Now I just wish I had been a little more thorough in proof-reading before I hit that "post" button ... "thoroughl", indeed.


Time for some more caffeine ...
posted by aldus_manutius at 5:39 AM on July 16, 2008

dabitch writes "tinyurl's change over time, don't they?"

They claim not, however there is no need for their obfuscation here. Previous discussion.
posted by Mitheral at 5:45 AM on July 16, 2008

What's interesting is that the you know, when they make all this noise about extending copyrights they always talk about "the authors family", but normally copyright is owned by giant corporations. So the last time they extended it, I believe they also changed the law so that the copyright would revert to the original authors family, not the current owner.

And because of this, DC/Warner Bros has actually lost the copyright over superman (or at least their is a lawsuit pending)
posted by delmoi at 6:21 AM on July 16, 2008

"could not have been more timely; it was really long overdue" is self-contradictory
posted by grobstein at 7:11 AM on July 16, 2008

(tinyurl removed -- it's unnecessary and they expire)
posted by mathowie at 7:52 AM on July 16, 2008

Some of my work is related to the whole area of appropriate use of other's material, and of course the discussion must include copyright--especially since young students as well as old instructors can get completely confused about fair use doctrine. This chart helps with the discussion. Thanks.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:54 AM on July 16, 2008

Peter's handy little chart could not have been more timely; it was really long overdue.

It looks like he's expanded it recently, but the chart isn't new; it's been around in some form for years and was invaluable when I was doing archival digitization projects for a living.

His SAA presidential address on copyright, archives, and the tendency of institutions to exert what he calls "quasi-copyright control" on public domain material is great and really ought to be more widely read by archivists.
posted by enn at 8:39 AM on July 16, 2008

C*nf*und that bl*st*d mouse!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:47 AM on July 16, 2008

Sigh. This just depresses and disgusts me; the complete and total corruption of the government by the media corporations is never more apparent than when looking at copyright law.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:32 AM on July 16, 2008

Cnfnd tht blstd ms!

Disemvoweled that for you.

And how does copyright effect censored works? Does the censor have any rights to his/her BLEEPs?
posted by wendell at 11:52 AM on July 16, 2008

I don't know if it's different for visual art (I suspect not), but for written works the author has initial copyright except when the work was written for hire (commissioned).

On the other hand, a museum may well own copyright on prints and posters of a work they own, even if the original has been in the public domain for centuries. A print has different properties than the original (especially for highly textured oil paint) and is a separate, derivative work.

I think one could argue that a censored work is a derivative work too. There was an extreme case whose title I can't recall or find now that certainly qualified—another book was almost entirely overpainted, leaving sometimes only a few words on a page, to tell a completely new story. (If anyone has Douglas Hofstadter's Metamagical Themas handy, I believe it's discussed in "Stuff and Nonsense," but I'm not sure.) But
posted by eritain at 3:35 AM on July 17, 2008

I just came across the American Society of Picture Professionals Best Practices for Locating Copyright Owners Of Photographic and Visual Art, which seems quite a useful guideline.
posted by peacay at 12:59 AM on July 25, 2008

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