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Comic Book on Copyright and Creativity 50

An anonymous reader writes "Three law professors have written a comic book on copyright and creativity -- focusing on the effects of expanding rights and restrictive licensing on documentary film. The book is available for free online via the creative commons license. High points include Larry Lessig as the Statue of Liberty, a version of the Crypt Keeper who looks like Justice Rehnquist, and comic book riffs from the Silver Surfer. At the end, the book discusses the 'cultural environmentalism' movement which has been getting some attention recently."
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Comic Book on Copyright and Creativity

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  • Mirror of PDFs (Score:4, Informative)

    by AliasN ( 907773 ) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:47PM (#14921953) Homepage
    Mirror of PDFs here in case it gets ./-ed (Low bandwidth, but still): []
    • Re:Mirror of PDFs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phiwum ( 319633 )
      Say, this mirroring raises an interesting question: Is mirroring an article a fair use right?

      Now, clearly you have been granted the right to mirror in this case (by the Creative Commons license on the inside cover of the comic book). But what about in general?

      My guess is that mirroring in general counts as re-distributing without permission. But has anyone seen any argument for or against my guess?
      • Good Question. I think that people just try to avoid mirroring copyrighted things.. Take a Windows XP SP2 patch. Unless it's a very big company promoting Microsoft products (say CNET), Microsoft would probably ask that the patch would be taken down. The reason in this case would be because they couldn't control who gets it (invalid serials, anyone). On the other hand, most stuff like this that would be so sensitive to copyright probably wouldn't be mirrored by anyone anyways.
      • My guess is that mirroring in general counts as re-distributing without permission. But has anyone seen any argument for or against my guess?

        That's the argument the news sites which are unhappy about Google searching their content are making.

        You're probably not far off the mark, and certainly other people are making that claim.

        What would be ultimately decided by a court (and in which country) has yet to be determined AFAIK.
  • I'm all for but the format
    the use of of the comic
    various me- was such that
    diums to I just couldn't
    make a point tell which
    about diffi- frame followed
    cult topics. which frame.

    Then you get to the payoff and it's just a screed against copyright law as it stands. It doesn't offer guidance, just copyright-hate.
  • by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:13AM (#14922052)
    Unfortunately, most people are generally too apathetic to care about such things as "fair use." It's really a shame. If you film something incidentally for a documentary, why must you clear the rights? How about the buildings that said documentary takes place?
    • I don't think it's so much that people don't care, it just hasn't really hit home yet. Regardless of whether copying your "copy protected" cd to your computer is legal or not, people do it because it's reasonable to 99.9% of the populace. When common sense things like that get taken away, people will wake up and start demanding action.
    • Don't forget that the aesthetic qualities of design are automatically copyrighted as well. Not only should you theoretically clear the architect for the building, you need to clear all of the companies whose products appear in your film, assuming they aren't strictly functional. Not only are there copyrights to the music the guitarist is playing (about a dozen rights holders, actually), but the guitar itself has an aesthetic copyright from Fender.

      Thankfully, nobody really pursues the aesthetic copyrights
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Isn't the creative commons license actually a list of licenses? -licenses []
  • Wow, that's a great comic. It does a very good job of explaining some issues related to copyright.
    There's also a wikipedia article on "cultural environmentalism". It doesn't have much in it though. lism []
  • by Marce1 ( 201846 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @05:53AM (#14922935) Homepage Journal
    Doing as a comic is a really straightforward way of introducing fair-use copyright material including images, songs etc.. and references to them as both critique and parady - it really covers the publication against trivial law suits.

    Furthermore, it adds nicely to the overwhelming feeling of the copright mire, while actually spreading the information around the page nicely (like a mindmap).

    Its so good its got me thinking of doing a documentary here in the UK.

    If I use lots of 'fair use' material, I can send the product (prior to public release) with notices like 'if you dont complain / sue I will release this as fair use after 40 days' literally begging the major corporate owners to sue: If I win or they don't complain I would use the data protection act to prove they had received the works and the warning notices, and include the whole documentary under some form of GPL - as such I would be the only point of contact needed to go through trials of fair use on that material, and anyone could use the original footage, or my new creation, simply by referencing it (or me)..

    Do that to enough material, or highlight it to enough of the public, and we could change the culture back from oppressive rights to expressive rights. Right on!
    • That reminds me of a song sharing network I thought of.

      It would all be reviews with a clip of less than 3 seconds. The reviews could be searched, and downloaded, and you could on your side arrange all the reviews in order and reconstruct the entire song. Of course it would be real hard to prove the distributed song review network was not intended for piracy (to a proponderance of evidence anyway).
      • That's very much along the same lines to what I was trying to get at (badly, apparently).

        I was just hoping to use the bank of materials 'approved as being used fairly' as a yardstick. The idea is that, should an artist worry about copyright, they could use material I had already used; EMI, Sony and others would have a much harder time demanding clearance fees and claiming copyright on material already deemed as 'fair use', albeit only in the UK. I would have already refused to pay any royalties or clearance
  • Three law professors have written a comic book...
    Is that like "Kurt Gödel, the Pope, and Jimi Hendrix walk into a bar..."?
  • We should read some (ack!) Jack T. Chick tracts and see how they simplify stuff to present their point of view. I know, their stories suck and are full of lies - but at least they do good in marketing.

    Having said this, I think the comic should have a more comedic approach, like having Shakespeare being interrupted by some lawyers because his works are patented or something. (Oh, wait, this is about copyright, not patents. Well, the comic should talk about the distinction of both because of this "intellectua
  • Rehnquist (Score:3, Funny)

    by volpe ( 58112 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:06AM (#14923953)
    a version of the Crypt Keeper who looks like Justice Rehnquist,

    I imagine that Rehnquist looks a bit like the Crypt Keeper too right about now.
  • It's not a bad presentation (aside from the art and lettering), but it almost lost me by using COMIC SANS for a font on the "inside front cover."


    I would direct their attention to []

    or []

    for better choices.


"Neighbors!! We got neighbors! We ain't supposed to have any neighbors, and I just had to shoot one." -- Post Bros. Comics