Podtech, please pay Lan Bui

Hey Podtech - this is pretty cut-and-dry. You used Lan Bui's photograph in a promotional contest without his permission. He sent you an invoice but you aren't responding. Do the right thing.

Steve Woolf has more. Rick Rey has more.

June 18, 2007 at 02:24 AM in Copyright | Permalink | Comments (11)

Copyright Radical

Picture_48Check out this just-posted interview with Negativland's Mark Hosler on MNstories.

He says "You don't get total control" when you put a creative work out into the world. If you want total control, keep it in your bedroom.

I tend to agree. That's not to say you shouldn't get paid for your creative work. But if you put something out into the public consciousness, you've already surrendered how that work will be perceived, contextualized, and interpreted. Or even mentally remixed, you might say.

Our lives are mashups. The whole fucking world is a mashup.

For this reason I'm increasingly against the "No Derivatives" clause of Creative Commons licenses. Let me give you an example. A couple weeks ago I was feeling a bit dispirited about staying up all night doing web production. A piece of art by Hugh Macleod *almost* represented how I felt. It was a purple scribble that said "We can't go on like this." I made it red and changed it to say "I can't go on like this" and posted it on my blog.

While Hugh kindly says I can do whatever I want with his art for personal use, his CC license says "No derivatives." Those conflict. That license says I can look at his work, and remix it in my head, and create a personalized version of it, but I can't show anybody. I can't recreate or regurgitate my experience of Hugh's art - according to that CC license. Well, I say I can and I do.

This is particularly true in the digital age. Hugh is not losing anything (especially monetarily) by my personal remix of his art. You can say the same of using commercial music and images in your videos. If you're not trying to redistribute or profit from another's copyrighted work, why NOT include it in your creative palette?

The world around us is our creative palette. We have the right to express the world around us, as artists and human beings.


May 13, 2006 at 01:36 PM in Copyright | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack



Derek Powazek posted a great synopsis of J.D. Lasica's Future of Darknets panel @ SXSW. Folks like Michael Verdi and Kevin Smokler took the Motion Picture Association of America to task for suing consumers instead of making media available when and where they want to use it (i.e. time-shifted, online). Kori Bernards from the MPAA was quite smooth handling the crowd.

VIDEO 1: SXSW Audience confronts MPAA
VIDEO 2: Ian Clarke confronts MPAA on how DVD encoding broke his DVDs
VIDEO 3: Flickr's Heather Champ: Digital Milennium Copyright Act served Flickr an overly-large takedown notice
VIDEO 4: JD Lasica's awesome mashup about darknets


March 17, 2006 at 01:14 PM in Copyright | Permalink | Comments (3)



Man. You thought I was selling out with my Crapumentary t-shirt, but that was just a joke. This is the real deal.

"A Prairie Ho Companion" Banned Collectible t-shirt!
The parody shirt Garrison Keillor's lawyers don't like.

How could I part with such a rare and now-legendary treasure? Why, because I'm broke of course. Also Rex gave me his blessing. We're naturally curious to see how much this thing will fetch. That $150 "Buy It Now" price is no joke, son. Maybe I should've had Rex autograph the tag?

Prairie_qt Be sure to watch the hit music video!
Prairie Disco Companion [Quicktime, 7 MB]
Features MIDI version of Europe's Final Countdown.

September 16, 2005 at 02:39 AM in Copyright, Dandy Foppery | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack



That's right folks! I'm making my own Blogumentary parody shirt, before some punkass blogger does. The Crapumentary Ringer T is $14.99, and hello ladies - the shapely Crapumentary Womens Cap Sleeve T is $15.99. These are Hane's combed cotton, mmm so soft and so snarky.

While supplies last! (i.e. - forever.)

September 13, 2005 at 10:11 PM in Blogumentary, Copyright | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack


I hope I don't get sued for wearing this shirt!

Oh, how I've been waiting for Rex to make this public. Garrison Keillor is totally suing MNspeak.com over this t-shirt, which the t-shirt page clearly and boldly states is parody.

It's just plain sad that ol' man Garrison has to bring in his lawyers at the expense of... well, his sense of humor, and the respect of most anybody hearing about this. He can parody his own film, but nobody else can?

Obviously, nobody buying this shirt is confusing it with A Prairie Home Companion. (Note to Garrison.) Rex says he's on pretty firm legal ground. There is a close precedent in California: Starbucks sued a cartoonist over this t-shirt logo:


Rex can probably relate to that cartoonist's reaction: "It's beyond absurd... like carpet-bombing an anthill." The judge ruled his parody doesn't infringe on Starbucks' trademark. However, the judge also ruled the Starbucks logo was tarnished because of Dwyer's use of the word "whore." In the end, he was allowed to continue using and distributing the logo but not for a profit.

Long live parody!


Pioneer Press: 'Prairie Ho' T-shirts no longer on sale
Power Line supports Rex, and they're lawyers!
MetaFilter thread
Wikipedia entry (scroll down)
Reason thread

September 13, 2005 at 03:14 AM in Copyright, Funny Crap, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack


Ofcom predicted that virtually all British homes - 99.6% - would have access to a broadband connection by the end of this year. By 2010, it suggested that more people could be watching television over the internet than via analogue sets.

Television took 30 years to reach a mass audience - broadband has taken three. Can you imagine a world where videoblogs compete head-to-head with television online? Many videobloggers already live in that world. Television will still have all the advantages of scale, but by virtue of being online the playing field is more leveled. Just like some videoblogs look like television now, I imagine some television will start to look like videoblogs. Oh, what a crazy mixed-up media world this is. Give me my FAX machine and my 8-track tapes!

Also: Check out JD Lasica's reponses from movie studios to his request to excerpt a few seconds of their films in his home videos. More sad proof that corporate copyright holders are ridiculously out of touch with their audience, Fair Use, technology, and reality.

(I'm still needing to read J.D.'s acclaimed book DarkNet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation)

July 14, 2005 at 06:20 AM in Copyright, Media, Videoblogging | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Hello friends! I'm quoted in today's San Jose Mercury News article about uploading copyrighted material on the web. It's written by Michael Bazeley, who also wrote about Plain Layne last summer. Here's my bit toward the end:

Artists are generally allowed to reuse portions of copyrighted material under the concept of fair use. But the definition of fair use is vague, at best. Minneapolis documentary filmmaker Chuck Olsen has created a documentary, titled ``Blogumentary,'' about blogs and their effect on politics and media. It is precisely the type of independently produced content that the Ourmedia founders would love to see on their site. But Olsen opted not to upload his film to Ourmedia because it contains some commercial pop music and clips from network news shows. ``To me, it's pretty much clear-cut fair use,'' Olsen said. ``But fair use hasn't really been tested, especially in films. I'm just playing it safe.''

That's me, Chuck "Playin' It Safe" Olsen! I should clarify. When I said it's pretty much clear-cut fair use, I was referring to my usage of Dan Rather news footage — not the pop song. I do waffle on the issue. You legal-types: If I release my film online for free, and it contains about 30 seconds of a Whitney Houston song (the most egregious of my copyright conundrums) - what's the worst that can happen? Cease-and-desist? Gitmo? Watch for further misadventures of Chuck in the media in Wired News and Forbes.com.

Slowing the flow of illicit uploads WEB SITES MAKE COPYRIGHT DATA MORE VULNERABLE By Michael Bazeley Mercury News The recent emergence of Web sites that encourage the public to upload copies of their own video and audio content is highlighting the difficulties of controlling the illicit spread of copyrighted material. The new sites are coming online at a time when technology is making it increasingly easy for ordinary people to copy, record, edit and upload video and audio content to the Web. The latest publicized copyright-related incident came about a week ago, when Google acknowledged that it was forced to take down illegal copies of the Hollywood feature film ``The Matrix Revolutions'' and episodes of ``The Simpsons,'' which had been uploaded to a new Google video search site. At least a dozen other copyrighted files have also been discovered on the site at http://video.google.com/. Google is not alone in facing the issue. Several other new sites -- including Ourmedia.org and the Open Media Network (omn.org) -- encourage users to submit digital media files, unintentionally opening the door to the illicit sharing of copyrighted material. To date, the number of illicit files appearing on the sites has been relatively small, particularly compared with the peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that have incurred the wrath of Hollywood. Ourmedia, a non-profit ``grass-roots media'' Web site, was launched in March, soliciting independently made video, audio and text files. Since the service opened, administrators have seen about four dozen instances in which users uploaded copyrighted material, a fraction of the 14,000 files currently hosted on the site, said Pleasanton's J.D. Lasica, co-founder of Ourmedia. Ourmedia does not screen content before it is uploaded to the site, Lasica said. But volunteer site administrators perform spot-checks ``after the fact.'' The site made it clear from the outset that it would not tolerate uploads of copyrighted material. ``We decided early on, even though we're not technically liable, that we don't want to open the floodgates,'' Lasica said. ``We said, let's focus on `our media,' not `their media.' '' The Digital Millennium Copyright Act puts the onus on Internet users to act responsibly when it comes to copyrighted material -- and for Web sites and Internet service providers to step in when they don't. So Web sites such as Google or Ourmedia are not required to screen content when it is uploaded to their servers. But they must respond quickly when they find out that copyrighted material may have been inappropriately placed on their systems. ``The theory is that there's so much content moving around, it would be unfair to put that burden on an ISP,'' said Catherine Kirkman, a media law expert at the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati law firm in Palo Alto. ``In general, the legal requirements respect that ISPs can't possibly police everything.'' Google's video search site, launched this year, is a two-headed animal. The site indexes televised content, including programming from the Discovery Channel, CNN and Bay Area news shows. Searchers can access excerpts from transcripts and still images from those shows -- but not video footage, yet. More recently, though, Google began to allow members of the public to upload their own video footage to make it accessible to Internet users. Google says it uses ``both a manual and automated process'' to screen video uploads for ``adult content or obvious copyright violations.'' But the company says its screening process is not bulletproof, and it encourages users to report suspected copyright violations. ``We proactively screen for copyright, which goes beyond the DCMA,'' spokesman Steve Langdon said. That stance so far appears to be enough to appease Hollywood studios, who have made piracy and copyright infringement a top priority in recent years. ``When they find it, they take it right down,'' said a Hollywood movie studio spokesman, who declined to be quoted by name. ``That's all you can ask for.'' Realizing when something violates copyright law is not always clear, however. Some video and audio files combine content such as audio clips or video snippets from a wide variety of sources, some original, some commercial. Artists are generally allowed to reuse portions of copyrighted material under the concept of fair use. But the definition of fair use is vague, at best. Minneapolis documentary filmmaker Chuck Olsen has created a documentary, titled ``Blogumentary,'' about blogs and their effect on politics and media. It is precisely the type of independently produced content that the Ourmedia founders would love to see on their site. But Olsen opted not to upload his film to Ourmedia because it contains some commercial pop music and clips from network news shows. ``To me, it's pretty much clear-cut fair use,'' Olsen said. ``But fair use hasn't really been tested, especially in films. I'm just playing it safe.'' Although Google has apparently become more vigilant about removing obviously copyrighted material, such as full-length films or whole television episodes, its site still hosted short clips from shows such as ``The Simpsons'' as of last week. ``Where things get quite interesting is in these gray areas,'' said John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, ``instances where the rights are not always that clear cut.'' Contact Michael Bazeley at [email protected] or (408) 920-5642, and read his blog at www.siliconbeat.com.

July 10, 2005 at 11:27 PM in Blogumentary, Copyright, Videoblogging | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack