This is a clip from the podcast Adventures in Design about copyrights.  It clarifies quite a bit about copyright law, how to copyright your work affordably, and it debunks various myths about copyrights.  It’s extremely enlightening.

It also goes into detail about what to do and what not to do when corporate art theft strikes, and how to make copyright law work to your advantage. Furthermore, it explains how to approach and make use of lawyers in such situations.  I think a lot of artists, even professionals, operate under the assumption that the legal system is beyond us - that our woes are either too trivial for lawyers to bother with or too expensive to follow through on. That’s self-defeating and largely untrue, though.  As it pertains to copyright law, the legal system is at your disposal and is designed to work for you.

Oh, how I wish I knew these things a couple of years ago when I was dealing with a couple of cases of corporate art theft and was feeling hopeless about it. Because I was repeating that over and over to myself as I listened to this, I figured I ought to share it.

(Warning:  the discussion in the link gets just a little bit crude in spots)

“Apparently there’s such a thing as a parody web series being too good. The hit series ‘Adult Wednesday Addams’ created by Melissa Hunter has disappeared from YouTube after the original creators of ‘The Addams Family’ flagged it.

“The web series shot to fame recently after an episode about Wednesday Addams getting her revenge on catcallers went viral and earned her international press coverage — enough to catch the attention of the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation, who hold the copyright for the work of American cartoonist Charles Addams.”

“Adult Wednesday Addams” Pulled From YouTube Over Copyright – New Media Rockstars

Dame las gracias, te lo robo porque es bueno!

, Voy a empezar por el principio. Lo voy a poner todo muy clarito y objetivamente para que os pongáis en situación. 

La mañana del 23 de Abril de 2015 me levanto, miro Facebook y veo que uno de mis contactos de Facebook ha compartido esta imagen

Digo yo: “¡Coño, ese dibujo es mío! Pero el texto de al lado, NO lo es!”. Efectivamente, realicé este dibujo para el proyecto Tattoo the Girl en el año 2013 y fue compartido en el blog de dicho proyecto. 

Evidentemente, escribí un mensaje privado a la página, pidiendo que por favor retiraran la imagen, ya que no tenían permiso para usarla, ni para promocionar su página ni para promocionar su tienda y mucho menos, para modificarla. 

Copio-pego la conversación

YO: Hola, acabo de ver que están usando una ilustración que realicé para un concurso sin mi permiso, me gustaría que dejaran de compartirla, gracias.

Feminismo Consciente: Oye chica, relájate!!! Yo baje la imagen de otra página feminista. Deberías saber que si subes algo a internet, YA NO TE PERTENECE Que inmaduro de tu parte traer a tu séquito a comentar sin saber que ocurre, inmaduro y reprobable. Al contrario, deberías  que se te publique en un espacio como este. Con insultos no llegas a ninguna parte

YO: Yo no estoy insultando en ninguna parte, te he pedido que retires esa imagen porque es mi trabajo y no tienes permiso alguno para usarlo.

Feminismo Consciente: Tu séquito si insultó, y has llamado estupido este espacio

YO: No tengo ningún séquito, de hecho puedes comprobar que ni siquiera son mis amigos en fb. He llamado estúpido al eslogan porque no casa con mis ideas, y aun menos y son usadas en mi trabajo sin permiso.

Y también recibo estas respuestas:

DE GOZAR. 

Gracias a que compartí yo y mis conocidos este hecho de ROBO en Facebook, llegó a mí una chica que desinteresadamente movió mi caso por grupos de facebook de autores y de gente que había sufrido casos parecidos. De repente una auténtica masa enfurecida de dibujantes y gente concienciada con el tema de apropiación de imágenes, les escribe comentarios, mensajes privados, correos electrónicos intentando que se retractaran y entraran en razón sobre el uso indebido del trabajo de otros. No sólo no reciben respuesta, si no que los comentarios son borrados y los usuarios bloqueados. 

Después de (a trancas y barrancas) poner una denuncia en Facebook por uso indebido y OJO, por contenido pornográfico (este ha sido el único medio que ha ayudado a que la imagen desapareciera), la espabilada de la administradora, en un triple salto mortal se marca este texto:

Encima de que me ha robado, llamado ignorante, quejica y celosa de mi trabajo, tiene los santos cojones de marcarse un Sandro Rey y despedirse con bendiciones, no sin advertirnos antes que estamos faltos de amor. 

—-

CONCLUSIÓN:

Lo siento chata, pero esto no se acaba aquí. Me han robado mi trabajo, ha sido modificado, ahora estará pululando por las redes con un texto que no tiene que ver nada con mi obra y la cenutria esta se cree que se ha ido de rositas a bendecir su coño moreno. 

Pues no. Estos casos sirven para concienciar a la gente de que los trabajos de la gente que están en Internet, NI SON DE INTERNET NI SON DE LIBRE USO. Y muchísimo menos, no eres libre de tragiversarlos, usarlos para promocionar tu página y tu tienda y GRATIS. 

Tú ves unos pantalones en un escaparate, los coges, te los pones, los cagas y los meas y cuando el dependiente te dice: que eso no es tuyo, que hay que pagarlo, saltas y dices: ¡encima de que los uso porque me han parecido bonitos me vas a decir que los pague! 

Pues esto es igual. 

Links de interés y agradecimientos:

Gracias infinitas a todos los que me habéis apoyado, seáis o no ilustradores, retwitteando, comentando y enviando mensajes. Con esta concienciación conseguiremos que pronto ningún creador tenga que sentir la frustración e impotencia de ver como otros usan su trabajo sin su permiso.

Si sufrís este caso en Facebook, podéis denunciar aquí: https://www.facebook.com/help/400287850027717

Podéis leer lo que Doc Pastor escribió sobre el tema aquí: http://docpastor.com/sonmisderechosnomelosrobes/

Podéis mirar todo el revuelo de twitter en mi cuenta http://twitter.com/mierdamir

La página de Facebook de Feminismo Consciente, por si queréis decirle algo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Feminismo-Consciente/1580151662204794?fref=ts

Gracias especiales a Nerelope Von Kupkeic, que en un suspiro movió cielo y tierra para que todo el mundo se enterara de este hecho. 

Y ahora me marco yo una Bruja Lola: 

Con respeto y educación se llega a cualquier parte. Si esto hubiese quedado en un malentendido de: “Ostia, perdona, ahora la quito”, aquí no ha pasado nada y santas pascuas. Pero si encima de manosear mi trabajo, me humillas y te ríes en mi cara, PUES TE VOY A PONER DOS VELAS NEGRAS. 

An ask to theartofanimation

An ask I just sent to theartofanimation

Look, I’ve messaged you about this before. No matter how great your exposure is when you repost people’s art, SOME ARTISTS FORBID IT. Me included. Look, I like all the likes and new watchers but why the fuck do you not respect the fucking rules? This time it’s DMCA time.

So if I like the likes and the publicity, why do I complain? Because of principle. The same rules apply whether you’re a big or a small blog. Please respect the artists and their wishes.

Edit: On top of that, you cropped out the copyright information of a licensed, for-profit commission done for a band (the Venrez cover). http://ani-r.tumblr.com/post/110361273025/cover-art-for-children-of-the-drones-by-venrez-go WHAT THE FUCK? You do not do this. The rights of that pic no longer belong to me so basically this band can sue you. Ever think about that? 

Edit 2: http://theartofanimation.tumblr.com/search/ani+roschier

11 reposts of my stuff. Wow. Really?

According to Copyright.gov, your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

If you see an account on Facebook or Instagram that has posted your work without your permission, you can report them!

To report them on Facebook, use this form.

To report them on Instagram, use this form.

All you need is a link to the infringing content and a link to your original work.

Paypal, what the heck does your user agreement even mean?

Carla Speed McNeil alerted me to this Paypal images license change which goes into effect on June 1st. WHAT THE HECK?

“When providing us with content or posting content (in each case for publication, whether on- or off-line) using the Services, you grant the PayPal Group a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise any and all copyright, publicity, trademarks, database rights and intellectual property rights you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future. Further, to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, you waive your moral rights and promise not to assert such rights against the PayPal Group, its sublicensees or assignees. You represent and warrant that none of the following infringe any intellectual property right: your provision of content to us, your posting of content using the Services, and the PayPal Group’s use of such content (including of works derived from it) in connection with the Services.”

Full changes to license here.

OK, what I think they are trying to get at is that if one of your images in embedded in a Paypal button (or something) then you give them the right to do that. Which they’d probably have the right to do through fair use anyway.

But this gives Paypal ridiculously broad rights beyond that, and it is something creators should be aware of.

Also, it occurs to me that someone selling art they did not do, say a dealer, is violating this agreement because they do not create or own the intellectual property rights to the art they sell.

How is Paypal going to be used to sell anything? A book, a manuscript, a painting, etc. But…you don’t own a book you are reselling, you don’t own the IP of a picture you are selling. You’re just selling a physical item you own. IP rights do not convey.

IP rights also should not convey to what is basically a money changing service.

Paypal’s response to me on Twitter.

If Paypal merely wants the right to retweet, then their user agreement should say “we have the right to retweet or to post a letter you write us!” instead of making a broad statement about how they also get things like trademarks in anything you “post” or “provide”. The user agreement is too broad and needs a rewrite.

UPDATE: Some excellent commentary on the language of the user agreement. Not going to grab your rights, but the language of the agreement is still lousy.

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Copyright, licensing, trademarks and the One Direction/Coca Cola ad

I can’t believe this is something I’m doing today, but here we go.

I’ve seen some confusion about how the approvals might have worked for the new Coca Cola ad featuring a 1D song, and what appears to be, at least, a Harry Styles look-a-like.

FIRST:

I’m not a lawyer. I work in the creative industries, and have to deal with copyright all the time. It’s also a weirdly specific area of interest for me, because if you don’t LEARN to be interested in it, you end up getting into trouble.

SECOND:

I’m pulling on years of working in this area, and checking facts by referring to “Owning It” a book on intellectual property law SPECIFICALLY written for the creative industries in AUSTRALIA. I happened to go to the book launch for this book just last night.

THIRD:

Laws in Australia are different, but similar to laws in the US and the UK. If my research is accurate, then the following SHOULD apply globally, but there might be some specifics I miss.

Here we go:

Copyright

Music copyright is held by whoever did the intellectual or physical work. In One Direction’s case, the copyright for the song Clouds is held by the writers, the performers, the people who did the recordings (the recording studio), and -usually- by whoever commissioned the recording in the first place (Sony/Columbia).

Copyright cannot be sold. This is an important distinction. It can expire, and all copyright eventually does expire, but you can’t sell your copyright. One Direction (and all its moving parts) continue to own the copyright for Clouds.

Each part of the process is copyrighted separately, and can be licensed separately:

-Lyrics

-Melody

-Performance

-Recording

Licensing

What you CAN sell however is the license to use/sell/edit/recreate/etc to your work. So, in this case, One Direction (and all the associated parts which own a stake in the copyright of Clouds) can make an agreement with someone (Sony/Columbia or a management company) that allows that person or company to use the copyrighted work.

ONE of the licensing deals, which would form parts of the management and recording contracts, might be that 1DHQ can allow commercials to license a track from One Direction. They can create a license that allows a company to use the track in advertising worldwide, for a specific territory, or for a time-limited period. The terms of the license are negotiable, but MOST licenses are granted for worldwide use because everything gets uploaded to YouTube eventually.

Trademarks

This is important because at least one of the characters in the ad appears to be a Harry Styles look-a-like.

You can’t trademark a “style”. For instance, Fleetwood Mac can’t trademark their particular, unique sound, which is why they can’t sue One Direction for Fireproof. One Direction isn’t claiming to BE Fleetwood Mac in Fireproof, but it does sound like a Fleetwood Mac song. If they’d used chords from a Fleetwood Mac song, that’s a different  story, but hopefully you now understand that style can’t be trademarked.

A LIKENESS however CAN be trademarked (it’s insane the number of things you can trademark, including colours, sounds, movements!). I, personally (and I have no evidence for this) don’t believe that Harry’s likeness has been trademarked. If it has, I’ll update this. That just means that people can look like Harry Styles without getting into trouble, and without seeking permission. If his likeness has been trademarked, then a license would have to be negotiated to create a look-a-like character.

So what does it mean?

There are organisations that organise the royalties for songs used in advertising. ASCAP etc. collect and distribute those royalties to the copyright holders. They do not NECESSARILY negotiate with brands wanting to use songs that they work with.

When it comes to advertising, LICENSE holders (not copyright holders) can negotiate with brands to have the song/s they hold the licenses for included in advertising. If the license holder gave their licensing powers to ASCAP, then ASCAP would negotiate with the brand (unlikely).

1DHQ (management, Sony/Columbia), I believe, would have had to negotiate directly with the representatives from Coca Cola about the use of Clouds.

1DHQ holds a license which would allow a third party to perform the LYRICS and MELODY of Clouds. The performer in the commercial then holds the copyright of his performance, and licenses his performance to Coca Cola. 

It doesn’t matter that the amount of song used is less than thirty seconds. That’s not a real rule.

It doesn’t matter that the song is modified from the original by the inclusion of the bottle drumming (incidentally, the copyright of which is held by whoever performed the bottle drumming), as the song is not substantially different from the original.

The final bars of the actual song Clouds is licensed a separate song, once which they would have to pay more for, as there are additional copyrights held on that song.

Conclusion

1DHQ would have had to have had approval of the use of the song in that commercial, EVEN if they didn’t know exactly the content of the commercial. Unless they specifically requested a final-cut approval (where they could veto the commercial if it didn’t match their One Direction branding goals) they would not have seen the commercial before it went to air.

I don’t know who holds the license for One Direction songs being used in commercials, but my GUESS would be Columbia Records.

The curious thing then, is that Columbia and Sony have a LONG history with Pepsi, so the use of one of “their” songs in a Coca Cola commercial is certainly unusual and interesting, but might mean nothing.

Any questions?

2

In the spring of 2012, a small show hit off-Broadway; it was called 3C and it was admittedly inspired by the 70s/80s show Three’s Company, which was (a groundbreaking concept at the time) about a guy who pretends to be gay so he could share an apartment with two women. In 3C, the guy actually is gay, and the play parodies the show, the culture of the 70s, and so much more. 

At the time, DailyActor wrote about the play and the fact that writer David Adjmi didn’t have the money or resources to push back against a copyright claim from DLT, the entity that owns the copyright to Three’s Company. Other Desert Cities writer Jon Robin Baitz told The New York Times, “The fact that the lawyers for the long-gone show Three’s Company have nothing better to do, aside from billing legal hours like truffle pigs, than attempt to bully an Off Broadway playwright of modest means is an affront of the most base kind.” 

DLT even said, back in 2012, that they didn’t want 3C to be seen, or read, because they were supposedly considering a stage version of Three’s Company, and believed that 3C borrowed too many elements of the work it’s based off to be considered “fair use.”

Along the line, Adjmi managed to find supporters to fund his lawsuit against DLT; he sued specifically to ask the court to issue a declaratory judgment (ie to declare) that 3C did not infringe on the copyrighted Three’s Company episodes. David Adjmi v. Dlt Entertainment Ltd., 14 cv.0568 is the case heading.

On March 31, 2014, the Southern District of New York held that 3C is a transformative work and a Fair Use; it does not infringe on Three’s Company; the ruling provides even more support for the now-mainstream belief that fanworks are often noninfringing.

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Elizabeth Magie and the true origins of the board game Monopoly

While the popular legend has been that Charles Darrow invented the board game Monopoly during the depression, its roots go back decades before, starting with a woman named Elizabeth Magie

Magie lived a highly unusual life. Unlike most women of her era, she supported herself and didn’t marry until the advanced age of 44. In addition to working as a stenographer and a secretary, she wrote poetry and short stories and did comedic routines onstage. She also spent her leisure time creating a board game that was an expression of her strongly held political beliefs.

Magie filed a legal claim for her Landlord’s Game in 1903, more than three decades before Parker Brothers began manufacturing Monopoly. She actually designed the game as a protest against the big monopolists of her time — people like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.

She created two sets of rules for her game: an anti-monopolist set in which all were rewarded when wealth was created, and a monopolist set in which the goal was to create monopolies and crush opponents. Her dualistic approach was a teaching tool meant to demonstrate that the first set of rules was morally superior.

From The NYTimes Book Review:

Magie helped form a company to market it, but it never really took off. The game appealed mostly to socialists and Quakers, many of whom made their own sets; other players renamed properties and added things like Chance and Community Chest cards. Even less auspiciously for Magie, many people began referring to it as “monopoly” and giving it as gifts. Then in 1932, Charles Darrow received one with spaces named for streets in Atlantic City…

In November 1935, eight months after Darrow and Parker Brothers made their deal, the company persuaded Magie to sell them the Landlord’s Game patent for $500. The contract provided no residuals, but she hoped the famous game company would turn her “beautiful brainchild” into a popular way of disparaging greedy ­monopolists. The company had other ideas.

You can read more about the story in Mary Pilon’s new book, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game.

Just gonna put this in writing for future reference:

You are not allowed to sell merchandise or artwork featuring my likeness or characters without my express permission beforehand.

BUT you are perfectly welcome to put a donation button next to your fan works involving the same.

I don’t mind people being rewarded for their efforts by people who enjoy and appreciate what they create, but for legal reasons there can’t be an outright expectation of financial benefit. Mostly I’m making this post because I want it on record that you can take donations if you’re making stuff with my stuff.

As little girls, they were told to grow up and marry doctors and lawyers. Instead, they grew up and became doctors and lawyers.
—  Baby Boom (1987)

The above image is not a gif of the Copyright Office posting its database of Fair Use cases. 

We are sure that whatever happened at the Copyright Office today when they took this database live was even more awesome - the database is the U.S. Copyright Office’s Fair Use Index, which is chock-full of searchable summaries of major fair use decisions from US courts. The index doesn’t include “fanworks” or “follow-on creativity” as a separate category (though hopefully someday it will), and we’d love to be able to search two+ categories with an “and” as well as an “or” but as-is, it’s a useful tool and we plan to link to it often going forward. 

Why is this a thing? 

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