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View Diary: Super-Fun-Pak Comix, featuring "How to Draw Doug" and more (29 comments)

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  •  I believe Mickey Mouse's copyright is about to run (15+ / 0-)

    out again.

    That means we'll be changing our copyright laws again soon.  


    •  now that Disney owns "Star Wars", those of us who (11+ / 0-)

      make Star Wars fan films are nervous that Disney will start putting down the hammer, like it does for its other characters.

      George Lucas, to his credit, realized that it was his fans who made him a gazillionnaire, and he never hassled any of the fan-created stuff (as long as it wasn't being done for profit).  But The Rat has very sharp teeth, and is famous for relentlessly going after anyone anywhere who even THINKS about using a Disney character without permission for any reason at all whatever. Disney once sic'ed its lawyers on a local church near me for painting Donald Duck on the wall of its nursery.

      Paramount used to do the same thing, sueing the crap out of people who made fan stuff--the story is that Paramount would even have security people remove unauthorized t-shirts from fans at scifi conventions.

      I never saw the slightest sense in treating your own fans as if they were enemies and thieves. It's we fans who keep interest in the franchise alive, and the film companies should be ENCOURAGING us, not trying to shut us down.


      •  The Grateful Dead had a hard time with this. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jds1978, semiot, Gentle Giant

        They used to let anyone make whatever he or she wanted with their logos.

        Sometime in the mid 80s they were convinced that if they did not enforce their copyrights someone else could steal there stuff and start charging them.

        After that it seemed as though they basically started to license some people to keep doing what they were doing already.  Others just branched out into more creative areas - incorporating other pop culture icons into dead themed art.

        (I'm sure another fan of said band here has more detail)

        They also always let people tape their shows - all of the subsequent iterations of the band still do.

        Take back the House in 2014!!!! ( 50-state strategy needed)

        by mungley on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:05:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  there is a provision in copyright law, IIRC, (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jds1978, mungley, semiot, rbird, Nattiq

          that if you don't make a demonstrable effort to enforce your copyright, it is considered to have lapsed.

          I can understand if copyright holders want to come down on people who just flat-out pirate their stuff for profit. But most of the fan-made stuff is done for love and NOT money. Certainly I never made a nickel from any fan film that I've posted to YouTube. And that was always Lucasfilm's attitude--if you're not making a mint off it, produce whatever you want. But Disney goes after anyone anywhere for anything, even if there's not a dime of money involved.


          •  Disney would charge you for singing "Someday (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mungley, Nattiq, Calamity Jean

            My Prince Will Come" in the shower if they could.

            Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

            by semiot on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:37:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Profit (3+ / 0-)

            I could understand if copyright holders interfered with other people's right to expression before the copyright holder made back their expenses plus a reasonable profit, within a reasonable time like maybe 20 years.

            Because beyond that they're just killing the entire basis of art, which always copies what came before. That is how folk art, including folk music, exists. Like a plant or animal that must reproduce before it's too old, or go extinct.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 11:15:51 AM PDT

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            •  I don't disgree (3+ / 0-)

              And keep in mind that I myself am a copyright holder---I was a freelance writer for a long time, and had magazine articles and did books for the Simon and Schuster Empire (and today I make my living by running a small publishing company).

              The rationale behind the "life plus 70 years" timespan was that it allowed the author to gain the income from the copyright, and then allowed his children to gain that income as well.

              Me, I'd be fine with the original copyright term of 15 years, period.  After all, 99% of all books published do not earn any royalties after five years anyway (the vast majority of books do not ever even earn back their advance). So for the vast majority of works, copyright after that time period is simply not an issue and does nothing more than delay reprints or re-works of the original.

              •  We're All Copyright Holders (0+ / 0-)

                Everything that is published, including this message, is automatically copyright by the author. Some contexts imply a license to copy, in either limited or unlimited scope. Sometimes explicitly, such as when registering with the actual publisher like, or implicitly when writing a message to someone who can quote and reply or redistribute such as in correspondence.

                The copyright is written directly in the Constitution, but Congress has ignored the restrictions the Constitution places on it. Especially the necessity "to promote progress in science and the useful arts", which would eliminate almost all copyright. And perhaps indeed all, since the Internet makes unlimited copying the best promotion of progress. The importance of protecting the author, who invested resources to produce the content that's now vastly more than it costs to copy and compete with them, means copyright protection is still valid.

                But it should be for at most 15 years (a human generation, which is how mom & dad's pop turns into their kids' folk). Or after a doubling, or even a tenfold return on investment - even if that's before 15 years. Probably registering copyright should require submitting records of what's invested, so enforcement of an infringement report can first audit whether the copyright has expired by profits. Automatic, unregistered copyrights should require the holder to first document their investment and income when reporting infringement, with alleged infringers free to prove the profit was higher and exceeded the expiration limit - along with a perjury charge or somesuch to the holder.

                The expiration times and profits should be different for different media, depending on how long it takes to turn pop into folk. Songs should probably take 10 years; books 15; movies 5; videogames 2 - if they haven't made their money during that pop cycle, they're going to do it later only because the people (the "folk") have invested more resources in copying and keeping it alive than the author and publisher did in delivering it to the public.

                The Constitution makes an explicit tradeoff between free expression and limited content monpolies for "progress". The profit motive underlying "promote progress" isn't even strictly necessary. Maybe in the 1800s-1900s they went hand in hand, but not at all anymore. And I note that copyright is one of only two Constitutional instructions that justify their terms in the text; the other is the 2nd Amendment. Both are misshapen compromises, both of rights and among legislators, that now do more harm than good after a couple centuries that long ago outgrew them.

                "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                by DocGonzo on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 03:37:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Well, they let people tape their shows, but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          you never knew when a song was going to begin or end. They'd stand with their backs to the crowd, not playing, for extended periods. When they felt the bootleggers would be stopping their tapes, flipping them, rewinding the dead space, etc., they'd suddenly kick into the next song.

          I saw a lot of people who came in in wheelchairs at the concerts who'd be suddenly cured and stand when the lights went down. Suddenly, there'd be boom mikes above their heads. I was standing next to one. He'd been sitting on a portable deck when he came in.

          I have a few bootleg Dead tapes shared with me by friends who followed them all over the NE US.

          I loved the Grateful Dead. Every show was different, but every show was a party.
          Further and RattDog are worth the price of admission. Still great shows, even if we do miss Jerry.

          I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

          by Gentle Giant on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 01:10:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Dead had a thing "Tapers Tickets" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kurt, raboof

            If you got one of those you were allowed to bring in 'non-professional' recording equipment.

            These may have been new in the mid 80s too.

            Tapers were welcome in the taping section, but not outside it.  The seats were often behind the sound board, but the sound was good, and there was no audience chatter (most of the time).

            (My brother used to go through airports with an army surplus ammo box with his tape deck and microphones in it.  Imagine showing up to airport security with one of those now.)

            A 90 minute cassette tape would get flipped sometime between the third to last song in set one and the second to last.

            Bird Song, (flip) Cassidy, Deal.
            or Looks Like Pain, Row Jimmy, (flip) Let It Grow.
            Second set would usually flip during drums or space.

            If you taped with a friend, you'd coordinate and flip at different times.

            With DAT the tapes were longer and flipping stopped being such an issue. First they were an hour, then they were 3 hours.

            Take back the House in 2014!!!! ( 50-state strategy needed)

            by mungley on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:31:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Librarians and others (7+ / 0-)

      who have been trying to rein in copyright more to the original intention (which was to encourage creativity and innovation, NOT protect economic interests) have been saying just give Disney a freaking exception for Mickey Mouse so the rest of us can have a law that makes sense.

      The original term of copyright in the Constitution was 14 years.

      "No one has the right to spend their life without being offended." Philip Pullman

      by zaynabou on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:20:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like the song (4+ / 0-)

        "Happy Birthday to You," which is owned by an investment group. It was written before I was born and may finally pass into the public domain when I am nearly 81. Corporations are the copyright trolls that live under the bridge.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:56:44 AM PDT

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      •  I wonder if that's why Mickey Mouse is always (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        semiot, Free Jazz at High Noon

        losing his eyebrows and trimming his widow's peak.

        Does Disney try to keep various versions of him under copyright so that someone can't come and say, "This mouse has no eyebrows. Mickey Mouse has had eyebrows since 1963,"?

        Take back the House in 2014!!!! ( 50-state strategy needed)

        by mungley on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:33:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I can see some sort of new category (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gentle Giant, Calamity Jean

        sort of like a service mark, that one could stick Mickey and other such creations into that would give Disney or whomever control over while ending the ever-expanding length of copyright.

        Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

        by milkbone on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 10:48:59 AM PDT

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        •  I had a Mickey Rat t-shirt ala R. Crumb style. (0+ / 0-)

          Wore it to tatters. I wished I'd had it when I finally did get to Disney World. Probably couldn't have worn it for long.

          I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

          by Gentle Giant on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 01:12:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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