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Blog Highlights: Copyright

“As we near the stages of completion in our own digital stories, we can certainly see the value in protecting our work and ensuring that we have properly credited the resources from which we drew throughout the creative process. Beyond that, however; the fees, penalties, and restrictions seem to hinder the freedom of creation.” — Lapple

Is it Foreigner Suite (1973) or If I Could Fly (2004) . . . or Viva La Vida (2008)? “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye or makes a buck.” —Bergman

“The prevalent emotions that people describe after this week’s reading are fear, discouragement, and sadness. I’d like to offer an alternative: Rage. Anger and indignation.” —Suiter

“Copyright law involves a weird kind of trade off: how do you balance the need for an artist to have their work seen with the fact that they need to get paid for it?”—Warburton

“So, in short, I definitely think that if copyright protection isn’t dead yet, it may be well on its way.”—Parks

“Actually, if someone had the means to distribute my work and make money off of it, I’m not sure that I would mind. I would never be able to figure out how to use my digital story to sell Clorox.”—Odiorne

“Finding your way through the law is one thing, finding out who own rights is a whole other battle that can be maddening. You REALLY want your piece to get made when you start digging up copyright and trademark information on every image, musical note or prop used in your piece.”—Goodwin

“On the one hand we could use what we want and try to claim fair use and deal with the complaints as they come (if they come). On the other we could totally avoid using anything that is younger than 87 years and not published by the government. Which sometimes means we have far, FAR less to work with than we expected.” —Blaher

“p until this point, I had felt fairly silly asking each one of my interviewees to sign multiple release forms for my project. Now I feel as though you just can’t be too careful in getting permission…and very grateful that I interviewed them in places that provided very basic backgrounds with no need to edit out the corporate logos.”—Janes

“I had a great laugh reading through the article entitled “Copyright Basics,” because twelve pages highlighting the major points could not get any less basic!” —Plumb

“After all of the reading this week on the increasing restrictions of copyright law and the obvious corporate influences on the changes to said law, I’m ready for something completely different. I mean, I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition. . . .. NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION! Our chief weapon is fear. Fear and surprise are our two main weapons… what?” —King

“Overall, reading about copyright made the idea of being creative seem a lot less exciting, and a lot more risky. Unless you are only working with original material, it seems like a lot of effort will need to go into researching and understanding copyright issues before you can publish your efforts.”—Cook

[Comment on Suiter] “Your copyrage blog was the first thing I’ve read regarding copyright that made me smile. It also made me realize that people probably fall into two camps: the rule followers who are stifled by issues such as copyright, and the rebels who create first and ask for forgiveness later, after they’re already famous and could care less if they’re forgiven.”—Cook

“Instead of applying for protection at LoC or letting a production company or distributor handle this task, digital stories seem, more often than not, to be uploaded without any assertion of ownership on behalf of the creator. This new way of self-publishing challenges our older understanding of what publishing even is.”—James

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It’s Copyright, not the Boogeyman.

I’ve spent some time with this topic in various forms or another.  I liked the comic book handling of copyright, a well developed piece that explains a complex topic.

Most of my experience with copyright comes from the film business.  Television and Film companies have a process by which they must create a name of a film or use any product.  Most people in the industry use Dennis Angel, layer/copyright expert. For ten bucks he can run a full copyright report for you.  Pretty cheap considering if you do not get proper clearance it can cost a ton down the road. Not to mention the pain of having to perhaps rename your title.  So the industry does it’s due diligence to ensure that they have all rights and clearances for their piece This includes proper release forms and contracts all signed before the performer, director, camera operator lift one finger. The studios have this down to a science and it’s bang bang done.  Independent filmmakers  and floundering digital storytellers, such as myself, have it harder, much much harder.  Though it does help to know that if I need to I can drop ten bucks and get Dennis Angel, lawyer, to help me out.

Finding your way through the law is one thing, finding out who own rights is a whole other battle that can be maddening. You REALLY want your piece to get made when you start digging up copyright and trademark information on every image, musical note or prop used in your piece.

In my Administration of Archives class we talked a great deal about Copyright issues, at the time. There was a case regarding Blackboard software and fair fuse of materials. Yes, it is a grey area, one that professors have been fortunate to use through their careers- anyone remember picking up the bound printout packets from the school printer that contained copies of materials for the course? Perhaps,  I am dating myself with that, but my point is as frustrating as the law is, I do not find the law intimidating just a tangled web to negotiate on my way to crafting my Princess Lea/ Star Wars parody.

For my project I had to sing a release about the materials I copied from the West Virginia State Archives.  The first part of the form stated that I was using the material for educational purposes and will not distribute said DST without permission, the second was the proper credit I need to include at the end of my piece, I will gladly happily do that.  For my part, i have music being  donated to my piece and I’ve gotten a release form signed and ready to go. Copyright, for me is not so much the Boogeyman something on but rather on my to-do list to be aware of and dilligent in handling.

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Copyright depresses me

Not even reading a comic book that deftly and efficiently explained copyright law (that was a brilliant piece of work, no?) can cheer me up. After all of the reading this week on the increasing restrictions of copyright law and the obvious corporate influences on the changes to said law, I’m ready for something completely different.  I mean, I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION! Our chief weapon is fear. Fear and surprise are our two main weapons… what? We’re copyrighted? So we can’t appear in this blog post without securing clearance? Aw, bugger.

Seriously, 70 years after the death of the author??? The entire 20th century since 1923 wrapped up in a nice little bundle accessible only to those with the cash to pay for it? As historians, we should be aghast at this over-reach of the law that seems clearly (to me anyway) skewed towards corporate interests in direct opposition to the public good. But then, that seems to be the theme of our society over the last decade or two, doesn’t it?

At least I can take cold comfort in the idea that I can parody the music industry’s RIAA as a blood-thirsty pack of ravenous lawyers eager to take down hardened law breaking music lovers like the single mother of five or the 12 year old file sharer and be on the right side of the law because it’s parody. But I’ll have to be careful, since I’m still not sure irony is covered.

On the positive side, I conducted a search of the Copyright Office’s Online Records and could not find the songs I wanted to use in my digital story. I did find one song by the artist, but it was not from even the same album (did I just date myself by calling it an “album”??). But according to our readings this week, since it was published after 1989 (1997), and outside of the U.S., the copyright protection is automatically applied. Did I read that right, or does this seem to be a gray area – the artist is Japanese, the music is an ancient art form (taiko drumming), and it’s unclear to me whether the songs are traditional or original.  Any thoughts?

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