I’ve got copyright on my mind

In a blog post about moving, I used the entirety of Jaquandor’s post. It was only one line, but it WAS the whole thing.

copyrightI took this four-week online course, Copyright for Educators & Librarians from Coursera a few weeks ago; a LOT of reading, plus instructor videos. I find that it has changed the prism of how I see the topic. I thought I knew a lot about copyright but found that I learned so much more. Here’s a Hangout with Kenny Crews & the Copyright Instructors, which was some expert answering questions at the end of the journey.

The course required participation in a discussion forum each week, with questions such as “What Copyrights Do You Own”. The answer is: a lot.

Almost every picture you’ve taken, or story you’ve written, with no need to formally register it. The exceptions include items you created for work, which may be under your employer’s copyright. After an increasingly long time, copyrighted items become part of the public domain, pretty much anything created before 1923. Items created for the US government are generally not under copyright. One can cede copyright, in part or in full, through Creative Commons. These are almost universally true.

Then there’s the much-misunderstood concept of fair use. You’ve probably made use of it every time you’ve written a paper for school, quoting some author whose work is under copyright. That use is not copyright infringement unless the quoting was extensive, or substantive. One famous case involved someone excerpting a relatively small portion of a book by former President Gerald R. Ford; the section quoted was why he pardoned Richard Nixon, and that was the crux of the book.

I’ve had a pretty good handle on this concept. Most of my work blogs are appropriations of copyrighted material. I write enough to get you to click on the link, ideally, but no more than that.

This reminds me of a time I wrote a post that promised the seven answers to something or other. The link went to Facebook. Someone wrote, “FAIL,”, because I failed to reveal the seven items. I thought, and still think, that the revelation by me would have been copyright infringement, whereas the tease was fair use.

There are other exceptions to copyright infringement, such as when someone is creating a parody. Think MAD magazine, which back in the 1950s was challenged for creating Superduperman, clearly a parody of the Man of Steel, and protected as such.

Commentary is another of the transformative processes that are protected. In a blog post about moving, I used the entirety of Jaquandor’s post. It was only one line, but it WAS the whole thing. I used it to make a point about how I have helped others move, not just appropriating the line as my own.

Anyway, you know how when you learn something, you notice EVERYTHING that falls in that category? Here are a few examples:

U.S. Copyright Office says it won’t register works by animals, plants or supernatural beings. This was in response to some guy wanting to register the artwork of his monkey.

CBS Sued Over ‘NCIS’ Farting Hippo Puppet.

Copyright extortion startup wants to hijack your browser until you pay. “Rightscorp, the extortion-based startup whose business model is blackmailing Internet users over unproven accusations of infringement, made record revenues last quarter, thanks to cowardly ISPs who agreed to lock 75,000 users out of the Web until they sent Rightscorp $20-$500 in protection money.” I HATE this stuff.

George Clinton loses the copyrights to a bunch of Funkadelic masters to a law firm he owes money to. I find this terribly sad.

BBC and FACT’s Daleks exterminate Doctor Who fansite, steal domain. “One of the operators of Doctor Who Media — one of the oldest, most respected Doctor Who fansites — had reps from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (who produce the awful “You Wouldn’t Steal a Car” ads) and the BBC thunder at his door and tell him he’d be served with a warrant if he didn’t shut down the site immediately and transfer his domain to FACT.” Fair use is different in the UK, and elsewhere, from the US.

Finally, someone sent me this:

The Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University is pleased to announce the publication of an open coursebook entitled Intellectual Property: Law & the Information Society—Cases and Materials by James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins. It includes discussions of such issues as the recent Redskins trademark cancellations, the Google Books case, and the America Invents Act. It also includes questions and role-playing problems ranging from a video of the Napster oral argument to counseling clients about search engines and trademarks, to applying the First Amendment to digital rights management and copyright, and commenting on the Supreme Court’s new rulings on gene patents. It is available for free download under a Creative Commons license.

The coursebook is intended for the basic Intellectual Property class, but because it is an open coursebook, which can be freely edited and customized, it is also suitable for an undergraduate class, or for a business, library studies, communications or other graduate school class. It is part of a larger effort to lower the cost of teaching materials and provide greater digital functionality. You can read more about the Open Coursebook project, download both the coursebook and its accompanying statutory supplement, or purchase low-cost print editions at www.law.duke.edu/cspd/openip.

BoingBoing says: “it’s not just a cheaper alternative [to a $160 textbook], either — it’s a better one.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Copyright Week

If any single entity owns a copyright in the law, it can buy, sell or ration the law, and make all sort of rules about when, where, and how we share it. People should never have to pay a fee to review and compare the rules and regulations they must obey, and no private entity should be the gatekeeper to the law.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation has celebrated Copyright Week last month with articles on these subjects:

Day 1: Transparency

Copyright policy must be set through a participatory, democratic and transparent process. It should not be decided through back room deals or secret international agreements.This includes wanting more information about the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Day 2: Building and Defending a Robust Public Domain

The public domain is our cultural commons and a public trust. Copyright policy should seek to promote, and not diminish, this crucial resource.

For example:

For nearly two centuries it has been a basic precept that the law lives in the public domain. It’s simple: in a democratic society, people must have an unrestricted right to read and speak their own laws. Full stop.

Of course, that principle means the law can never be subject to copyright restrictions. If any single entity owns a copyright in the law, it can buy, sell or ration the law, and make all sort of rules about when, where, and how we share it. People should never have to pay a fee to review and compare the rules and regulations they must obey, and no private entity should be the gatekeeper to the law.

Day 3: Open Access

The results of publicly funded research should be made freely available to the public online, to be fully used by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Day 4: You Bought it, You Own It

Copyright policy should foster the freedom to truly own your stuff: to tinker with it, repair it, reuse it, recycle it, read or watch or launch it on any device, lend it, and then give it away (or re-sell it) when you’re done.

Don’t you just hate “buying” a product that in fact you apparently have only leased?

Day 5: Fair Use Rights

For copyright to achieve its purpose of encouraging creativity and innovation, it must preserve and promote ample breathing space for unexpected and innovative uses.

Admittedly, fair use is an intentionally murky concept, but know that even copyrighted material can be used under the right circumstances, and fortunately so.

Day 6: Getting Copyright Right

A free and open Internet is essential infrastructure, fostering speech, activism, new creativity and new business models for artists, authors, musicians and other creators. It must not be sacrificed in the name of copyright enforcement.

I was reminded that last month marked the 30th anniversary of the Sony Corp. v. Universal Studios decision, also known as the Betamax case, which paved the way for such innovations as your beloved DVR.

Innovation is good; unreasonable copyright laws, and enforcement, are not.

The picture is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License – See more at: http://www.erikjheels.com/803.html#sthash.BanTAT14.dpuf

September Ramblin’

There was this woman named Dottie Rambo, an American gospel singer, musician, and writer of over 2500 songs, who died a couple of years ago in a motor vehicle accident. I mention this because in her obit in an Italian online news publication, the accompanying picture is NOT Dottie Rambo. Who is it? Dottie’s given name was Joyce. There is a librarian friend of mine named Joyce Rambo, still alive, BTW; it is HER picture that graces the Italian obit, not Dottie’s.

A record producer plays the entire Beatles catalog on the ukulele; this video is only a sample.

The Apostrophe Song. For those who know the difference between it’s and its or you’re and your, and grimace when they see her’s. And especially for those who dont. I mean, don’t.

Playing for Change, Episode 34: Raghuvamsa Sudha. What do the letters in music stand for?

Vanessa’s wedding reception surprise. I HAD to post this because this IS my second favorite musical, after West Side Story. More about the couple.

Librarians will survive budget cuts.

NCC-1701 Pizza Cutter for your favorite Star Trek fan. And the video.

Star Wars TV Intro (Hawaii Five-O Version)
Star Wars TV Intro (Dallas Version)

And speaking of Dallas: Only one of the reasons I hate the Dallas Cowboys.

America Is a Joke article about Jon Stewart. “The worst of times for politics and media has been the best of times for The Daily Show’s host—and unfortunately things are getting even funnier.”

How to quit your job. OK, so it was just acting.

Did Christine O’Donnell make this PSA?

Are You a Comic-Con Dork?

“1,002 theatrical cartoons were produced by the legendary Warner Brothers animation studio in its heyday. This video, which is about the length of one of those cartoons, purports to feature one frame from each of those 1,002 cartoons.” Plus several iterations of the song The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down; if you’ve watched Bugs Bunny or his pals, you KNOW this song.

Explaining Fair Use Using Disney Characters. Not every use of copyrighted material is disallowed.

Disney Epic Mickey Mouse. Love the visuals.

Katy Perry Spoofs Canceled ‘Sesame Street’ Appearance on ‘SNL’, with a link to the original duet with Elmo

You may be familiar with the fact that Hollywood’s making a film about Facebook. Now, the Twitter movie.

Ken Levine says: They must really be out of stars for the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

The FOR COLORED GIRLS trailer from Tyler Perry. Looks intense. My sister read the book, but I never did.

Finally, Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, who I must admit I never heard of. “Danny Glover and Edward Asner, co-chairs of ‘Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5’ made a call to their colleagues in the United States inviting them to add their name to a letter to President Obama encouraging him to issue an Executive Clemency order on behalf of the Cuban 5.

“A significant number of well-known actors and artists who responded to the call” include Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, Martin Sheen, Pete Seeger, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Chrissie Hynde, Haskell Wexler, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, James Cromwell, Mike Farrell, Elliott Gould, and Esai Morales.

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