Andy Baio looks at youngsters' persistent misapprehensions about copyright law, which is stricter than many realize. Exhibit A: a popular YouTube of Pulp Fiction scenes, remixed in chronological order, posted with the disclaimer "No copyright infringement. I only put this up as a project."
Under current copyright law, nearly every cover song on YouTube is technically illegal. Every fan-made music video, every mashup album, every supercut, every fanfic story? Quite probably illegal, though largely untested in court.
No amount of lawsuits or legal threats will change the fact that this behavior is considered normal — I'd wager the vast majority people under 25 see nothing wrong with non-commercial sharing and remixing, or think it's legal already.
Isn't it also interesting how many young artists still instinctively honor the idea, as they see it, of copyright? Respect for other artists comes naturally. People don't stop respecting copyright until they see how little the claimed principles have to do with the reality of enforcement—especially when it's used to condem their own creative expressions as a form of theft.
The US Library of Congress has created an exemption to copyright law to make it legal to preserve abandoned video games, including online server code required to play them.
A federal judge in Los Angeles today delivered “a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims,” as the LA Times put it. Warner/Chappell Music does not hold a valid copyright claim to the “Happy Birthday To You” song. The royalties they demanded were not theirs to demand.
Well-funded arguments are often made that copyright should last forever, replacing its original purpose (encouraging the creation of new works) with a plainly proprietary system of cultural ownership. Eric Crampton explains why this is a bad idea. Even from the perspective of a profit-seeking artist, copyright is a double-edged sword. Stronger copyright both increases the […]
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