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Posts tagged "copyright"

Aug 22, 2014
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The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings…

Examples:

• A photograph taken by a monkey.

• A mural painted by an elephant…

• An application for a song naming the Holy Spirit as the author of the work.

The US Copyright office says you can’t copyright things made by animals, gods, or ghosts

Jun 05, 2014
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“You don’t go into a museum and paint a moustache on somebody else’s painting.”

Mr. Don Henley (drummer/singer for The Eagles, with an estimated net worth over $200 million) doesn’t want people messin’ with his music. Henley recently sent takedowns to Frank Ocean and Will Sheff of Okkervil River—Ocean sampled the whole master track from “Hotel California” for “American Wedding”, and Sheff rewrote portions of his cover of “The End of Innocence.” His take:

“They don’t understand the law… You can’t re-write the lyrics to somebody else’s songs and record it and put it on the internet. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t an improvement. We were not impressed. So we simply had our legal team tell them to take it down and they got all huffy about it.

It’s a different mindset. I don’t know how they’d react if I took one of their songs and re-wrote the lyrics and recorded it, I don’t know if they’d like that. Maybe they wouldn’t care but I care. We work really really hard on our material. We spend months writing it and years recording it. You don’t go into a museum and paint a moustache on somebody else’s painting. Nobody would think of doing that.

(Actually, Mr. Henley, somebody did think of doing that, in 1919. But anyways…)

Technically, Henley is legally very much in the right. As Rolling Stone points out, “United States copyright law allows anyone to record a cover of any song without asking permission, so long as the musician does not alter the original.”

But to paraphrase Jeffrey “I hate the fuckin’ Eagles, man” Lebowksi, “You’re not wrong, Don, you’re just an asshole.”

Frank Ocean responded:

He (They) threatened to sue if I perform it again. I think that’s fuckin awesome. I guess if I play it at coachella it’ll cost me a couple hundred racks. If I don’t show up to court, it’ll be a judgement against me & will probably show up on my credit report. Oh well. I try to buy my shit cash anyway. They asked that I release a statement expressing my admiration for Mr. Henley, along with my assistance pulling it off the web as much as possible. Shit’s weird. Ain’t this guy rich as fuck? Why sue the new guy? I didn’t make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything I’m paying homage.

Will Sheff’s response was a bit more thoughtful, and very much in line with Steal Like An Artist:

I started noticing something [all my favorite artists] had in common – they all copied each other…. I realized that this is what artists are supposed to do – communicate back and forth with each other over the generations, take old ideas and make them new (since it’s impossible to really “imitate” somebody without adding anything of your own), create a rich, shared cultural language that was available to everybody. Once I saw it in folk art, I saw it everywhere – in hip-hop, in street art, in dada. I became convinced that the soul of culture lay in this kind of weird, irreverent-but-reverant back-and-forth. And I concluded that copyright law was completely opposed to this natural artistic process in a way that was strangling and depleting our culture, taking away something rich and beautiful that belonged to everyone in order to put more money into the hands of the hands of a small, lawyered few.

He then goes on to explain why he altered the Henley cover in the first place. Worth a read.

One funny bit that nobody’s mentioned: The Eagles themselves probably ripped off Jethro Tull’s “We Used To Know” for “Hotel California,” which sold over 16 million copies in the U.S. alone, and made them all millionaires.

Apr 20, 2014
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I now wonder where the idea or of the ideology of creativity started. Shakespeare and company certainly stole from, copied each other’s writings. Before them, the Greeks didn’t both making up any new stories. I suspect that the ideology of creativity started when the bourgeoisie—when they rose up in all their splendor, as the history books put it—made a capitalistic marketplace for books. Today a writer earns money or a living by selling copyright, ownership to words. We all do, we writers, this scam, because we need to earn money, only most don’t admit it’s a scam. Nobody really owns nothing.
Kathy Acker (via botchedandecstatic) (from her very-hard-to-find-online 1989 article, “A Few Notes on Two of My Books,” published in the Review of Contemporary Fiction 9.1)

(via ayjay)

Sep 03, 2013
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For a Classic Motown Song About Money, Credit Is What He Wants

Sad copyright story: Barrett Strong, who first wrote and recorded “Money (That’s What I Want)” for Motown, has never seen a penny of royalties for the song, because Motown executives had him removed from the copyright registration. (The single was Motown’s first big hit, and sold over a million copies, but you could probably live off the publishing from the Beatles’ cover alone…)


  In 2009, Mr. Strong had a stroke, limiting his ability to play the piano and sing. He now lives in a retirement home here, and hopes that by recouping rights to “Money” he will more easily be able to pay his medical bills and residence fees. But he also wants his accomplishments properly remembered.
  
  “Songs outlive people,” he said, with a mixture of sadness, resignation and anger. “The real reason Motown worked was the publishing. The records were just a vehicle to get the songs out there to the public. The real money is in the publishing, and if you have publishing, then hang on to it. That’s what it’s all about. If you give it away, you’re giving away your life, your legacy. Once you’re gone, those songs will still be playing.”


Filed under: copyright

For a Classic Motown Song About Money, Credit Is What He Wants

Sad copyright story: Barrett Strong, who first wrote and recorded “Money (That’s What I Want)” for Motown, has never seen a penny of royalties for the song, because Motown executives had him removed from the copyright registration. (The single was Motown’s first big hit, and sold over a million copies, but you could probably live off the publishing from the Beatles’ cover alone…)

In 2009, Mr. Strong had a stroke, limiting his ability to play the piano and sing. He now lives in a retirement home here, and hopes that by recouping rights to “Money” he will more easily be able to pay his medical bills and residence fees. But he also wants his accomplishments properly remembered.

“Songs outlive people,” he said, with a mixture of sadness, resignation and anger. “The real reason Motown worked was the publishing. The records were just a vehicle to get the songs out there to the public. The real money is in the publishing, and if you have publishing, then hang on to it. That’s what it’s all about. If you give it away, you’re giving away your life, your legacy. Once you’re gone, those songs will still be playing.”

Filed under: copyright

Jun 28, 2013
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British album cover artist Roger Dean sues James Cameron over ‘Avatar’

A pretty ridiculous lawsuit:

Dean alleged that some Avatar production workers had studied and referenced Dean’s art as they worked on the movie. The lawsuit claimed the film copied “floating mountains,” “stone arches” and the antennae and markings on flying creatures.

With an equally ridiculous statement by Cameron’s lawyer:

Cameron lawyer Bert Fields called Cameron the “most original and creative person in the motion picture business today” and said he doesn’t need to copy from anyone.

Oh really? Here’s a big list of potential influences on Avatar. i09 has a gallery of Dean art that looks similar, along with an article about how many of the design elements were taken from cars, the ocean floor, and real-life mechanics.

(thx @nczeitgeist)

Apr 26, 2013
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Andy Baio, “The New Prohibition”

“Fair use will not save you.”

Finally got around to watching Andy’s chilling talk on copyright, remix culture, and his legal battle and $30,000 settlement with the lawyers of photographer Jay Maisel. Ugh.

I wrote a little something about fair use for the New York Times last year. Murky waters:

Of course, one man’s fair use is another’s infringement, and unfortunately, the burden of proof in a fair use case is on the defendant, who, often lacking the money to fight in court, has no choice but to cease and desist. Many artists have suffered this fate, and so I continue making the blackouts with fingers crossed for a litigation-free future.

Feb 26, 2013
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Infringement Claim Fails Because Law Protects Expression, Not Ideas


  The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but ‘[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts’ [according to the US Constitution]. To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work.”

Infringement Claim Fails Because Law Protects Expression, Not Ideas

The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but ‘[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts’ [according to the US Constitution]. To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work.”

Oct 10, 2012
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Sep 28, 2012
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Nobody can steal what they can’t see.

Jun 19, 2012
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