DMCA exemption carved to help preserve old games

Illo: / Automattic

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. Read the rest

After 80 years, Happy Birthday song is finally in the public domain


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.

Read the rest

Why copyright should not be infinite, in a nutshell


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 rewards from having produced a piece of work and increases the cost of creating new works.

Too weak of copyright can mean that too few works are created, although artists have gotten far better at working out alternative ways of earning a living when, regardless of the letter of copyright law, enforcement has become difficult. Further, at standard time discounting rates, a 20-year extension to copyright’s term might provide only about a two percent increase in the value of any earned royalties. It is not particularly plausible that many new works would come into existence because of that slight increase.

On the other side, too strong of copyright can surely kill new creation. Artistic works feed off each other. New works build on older traditions, reinterpreting old folk tales and old folk tunes for new generations. The Brothers Grimm collected and published older folk tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in the 1800s. In the 1900s, Walt Disney brought those stories to life in a new form. In the 2000s, well, it is hard for new innovation to occur because copyright law, at least in the United States, has frozen the usage of most important works produced since 1923.

Read the rest

Darren Dutton's weird comedy remix masterpiece: Badgers

A very funny pastoral pastiche, handmade from 100% recycled vintage sound clips.

Anti-piracy dolts gobble up content with "pixels" DMCA takedowns


Several Vimeo members whose videos had "pixels" in the title are victims of the latest overly broad DMCA takedown request by Entura International, working on behalf of Sony's summer schlockbuster Pixels. Read the rest

The twisted history of the Happy Birthday song—and the copyright shenanigans that keep it profitable

I've obtained the 1922 book that demonstrates this classic song should rest in the public domain.

Stop the Music

A chilling piece of science fiction projects the future of our most frightening tech-law trends: what will the mission-creep for memory erasure look like?

Lawsuit claims Conan O'Brien stole jokes from Twitter


In a lawsuit against Conan O'Brien, San Diego resident Robert Kaseberg says his lulzy tweets about Tom Brady, Caitlyn Jenner, airlines, and the Washington Monument all made it into the late night host's monologue. Read the rest

Twitter joke thieves are getting DMCA takedowns


Among professional comedians, joke theft is no joke. Now Twitter is allowing members to use DMCA notices to take down tweets posted by accounts that copy and paste them without attribution. PlagiarismBad's name-and-shame campaign has already netted a few celebrities. Read the rest

Reddit's going to remove "copyrighted material?" As if.


Reddit's proposed new policies continue its principled ideological commitment to ignoring problems. But it also wants to do something about copyright infringement. Perhaps Reddit can brush its white supremacy and rape advice subreddits under the rug! But can it live without copyrighted material? Get real, Reddit! Read the rest

Fair Use App: a guide to fair use for online video creators

Art from New Media Rights writes, "We spend our time working with online video creators on fair use, so we created The Fair Use App. We filtered down our experiences working with video creators to create an app that can help them better understand:" Read the rest

Hakim, the Masked Coder of Minneapolis

Internet madness, Gamergate, and the special happiness of farewells.

EFF asks US Copyright Office for your right to fix your car

It's that time again: every three years, the Copyright Office allows the public to ask for exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's ban on "circumvention," which prevents you from unlocking devices you own. Read the rest

Harvard's amazing Copyright X online course taking applications

Nathaniel from Harvard's Berkman Center writes, "Copyright X -- AKA 'The MOOC the New Yorker actually liked' and 'the butt-kickingest free copyright class you didn't even know you'd love' -- is gearing up and taking applications for its third run." Read the rest

"Copy Me" episode 3: "Early Copyright History"

Alex writes, "It features censorship, hangings, dissent and criticism, a whole bunch of state and church control, angry queens, sad Stationers, and, of course, our terrible culprit: the printing press." Read the rest

The Clown Egg Register

Our friends at Futility Closet (hosts of Boing Boing's wonderful Futility Closet podcast) have a short item about The Clown Egg Register. Apparently, a clown's face can't be copyrighted, but if you decorate an egg with the clown's face, you can copyright that, which stops unscrupulous clowns in their tracks. Read the rest

Interview with the creators of Stripped, feature-length doc about comic strips [New Disruptors Podcast #68]

[soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&show_artwork=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder created the movie Stripped about the past, present, and future of comic strips and their creators. Dave is the creator and cartoonist of two webcomics titles, Sheldon and Drive, and the co-author of How To Make Webcomics. He is one of a small but growing group of webcomics artists who are self-sufficient. Fred is a veteran cinemographer, nominated for Best Cinematography at Sundance for his work on Four Sheets to the Wind. He has been shooting commercials for much of his career.

Together, they matched Fred's filmmaking skills with Dave's personal knowledge of the field and his contacts to create the first feature-length documentary on the topic, funded in part through two Kickstarter campaigns. They don't pull punches about the difficulties of being a comic-strip artist, but they show all the joy and love that goes into the work along with many potential bright lights already illuminating parts of the field and shining on the horizon.

The New Disruptors: RSS | iTunes | Download this episode | Listen on Stitcher

This episode is sponsored by:

Creative VIP is the exclusive membership club for creative professionals, writers, and designers. Membership includes discounts on world-class online services and apps, and access to a growing library of graphics, vectors, icons and themes. You can also get a regular goodie bag on your doorstep. Save 25% on your membership, forever, by visiting

Media Temple: Web hosting for artists, designers, and Web developers since 1998. Read the rest

More posts