About “Tales from the Public Domain” and Creative Commons

This is where we’ll talk about “Tales from the Public Domain,” a comic by Keith Aoki, James Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins, which is actually a comic about copyright, and also a bit about Creative Commons. I am always torn about how much attention we should spend in a class like this on issues of copyright, fair use, open-access, sharing culture, and the like. On the one hand, I think it is critical to at least acknowledge these issues because you will want to pay attention to them when you put together your own text-to-hypertext projects. And of course, these are important things to think about professionally, too: you can’t “just take stuff” (like images, video clips, audio clips, and so forth) and add it to your web site. You have to own (or lease) the rights to that stuff.

On a related (maybe other?) hand, copyright law and just what constitutes “fair use” (for artistic reasons, educational reasons, etc., etc.) is enormously complicated, too complicated to really talk about fully in a class like this because of time and expertise– that is, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t think any of the rest of us are either.

So that’s why I think this comic is a decent-enough compromise. It’s a little dated, but I don’t think the law has changed in any basic way, and it’s an approachable/easy enough to digest format.

The Creative Commons site is all about one of the solutions to the problems of copyright with online material. Hunt around the site both for what it’s about, the various licenses it has available, about searching for things you can use with different creative common licenses, and so forth. The (very very short) version is Creative Commons is a way that allows creators to share their work for others to use in a much more dynamic way than traditional copyright. It’s far from a perfect solution, but it’s probably the best we’ve got for now.

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47 Responses to About “Tales from the Public Domain” and Creative Commons

  1. Jaclyn Y says:

    To say that copyright law, fair use, and open-access issues are complicated is kind of an understatement. It reminds me of when the SOPA and PIPA acts were brought before congress back in 2012. The acts were targeted toward piracy, but they were worded in a broad way that had the potential to violate the first amendment.
    I think the phrase that scared people the most was “willful infringement.” Any site that instigated “willful infringement” would be subject to legal action. The phrase was poorly defined, and I remember my friends and I being worried that it would allow copyright holders to take legal action against, not just social media sites, but users of social media.

  2. Jaclyn Y says:

    To say that copyright law, fair use, and open-access issues are complicated is kind of an understatement. It reminds me of when the SOPA and PIPA acts were brought before congress back in 2012. The acts were targeted toward piracy, but they were worded in a broad way that had the potential to violate the first amendment.
    I think the phrase that scared people the most was “willful infringement.” Any site that instigated “willful infringement” would be subject to legal action. The phrase was poorly defined, and I remember my friends and I being worried that it would allow copyright holders to take legal action against, not just social media sites, but users of social media. In retrospect, that may have been a little over-dramatic of us to think that the government would take down our Tumblr pages, but the implications of that idea are much broader. I cannot imagine what Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and especially Tumblr would be like without all of the technically copyrighted content that appears on the sites. I know for sure that a large amount of traffic to sites like Tumblr would be lost completely without the ability to post copyrighted content.

    • rachel says:

      For the time being, it doesn’t seem like the social media sites that allow users to “share” different things that suit their fancy have been targeted for copyright infringement. Probably because people only go after others for copyright infringement if someone other than the copyright owner is making money off of it.

      Speaking of tumblr, whenever I upload fanart that I want to share or various fan MVs that I’ve come across on youtube, tumblr is the only site I’ll truly bother to post a link to credit the creator if I’m uploading rather than sharing something that’s already exists on tumblr. And the main reason for that is that there were some copyright nazis who put hatemail in my inbox shortly after I joined tumblr for not putting links to the original sources on my posts (my tumblr started out as a fan blog for various anime).

      For sites like fanfiction.net, one of the reasons people don’t get in trouble for writing a “continuance” of sorts with an existing storyline and characters that they fell in love with is that they don’t make any money off of it when they post it on the site. However, there are certain authors who have forbidden fanfiction of their works to be posted on the site, such as George R.R. Martin and Anne Rice. Personally, I roll my eyes at authors who “forbid” or snub fanfiction, as it will exist in the depths of the internet and people’s hard-drives whether they want it to or not, and there are some very good pieces of fanfiction if you know how to look. Personally, I’d be flattered if people loved a story I created enough to have it continue or spin-off long after I ended it.

      • jmoss9 says:

        One would think authors would appreciate fan fiction because it creates interest in the original storyline that the author might not have gained otherwise. It’s like free advertising for them.

      • Joan Kwaske says:

        While I love George R. R. Martin for his writing, I definitely share your opinion. From what I’ve read on his “Not a Blog” and heard in different interviews, he mainly wants to promote writers to create original material, but it still plays into the possessive sense he has as a published author. (Personally, I would say that if he didn’t want fanfiction that insults his storyline/characters/themes while making insane amounts of money and poorly portraying his creation, maybe he shouldn’t have sold the rights to HBO?)
        Anyway, I have mixed feelings about the stubborn attitude around fanfiction and fanart. Overall, I feel that as long as no one is making money off of their fan-creation, what’s the harm? It creates a community, which can generate more attention, and in turn, can bring in more readers to buy your books. On the other hand, do I understand the desire to maintain the “purity” of the original text.
        Like you said, I would be flattered too. I think it’s really a wonderful compliment to have anyone want to continue the story.

        • Marianne says:

          I agree–free publicity is free publicity, and as long as the items aren’t being flagrantly ripped off, they are putting out the word on your work to people who may not have known about it before. It’s so sad they don’t think about it like that.

  3. swilso93 says:

    Copyright laws confuse me! I never realized how little statements, accidental things that pop up when filming a documentary, etc., can be cause for copyright infringement. You could end up paying big bucks just because someone said, “Everybody dance now!” Even if you cut it out later! I hate when I am writing a paper or some other assignment and I can’t find the information I need to cite a item that does not belong to me. I end up just not using it because I really don’t want to get myself in trouble. It does make me think of something interesting. If we legally can’t use things without others permission, doesn’t that mean that the posts we share on Facebook, Instagram, etc., aren’t being legally shared? We don’t really know who originally posted it. When you share something, it just says who was the last person to share it, not who actually took the photo, made the meme, etc. Or is it okay that these things are being shared because it is a public forum so your right to privacy is kind of taken away anyways?

    • Steve Krause says:

      You’re touching on the “chilling” potential and the “we’re all criminals then” factor here, Samantha. What I mean by the “chilling” effect is people second (or third or fourth?) guess themselves about using some image/song/quote/whatever even when it would be completely legal and allowable because they’re afraid they might break the law. But what I also mean by the “we’re all criminals then” is that almost everyone ignores or purposefully violates copyright rules sometime either because the laws/rules are so hard to follow or because they are so unreasonable. It begs the question what good is a “law” if so many many people don’t follow it?

      By the way, this is the advantage of Creative Commons.

      • Marianne says:

        I never realized that the pictures I downloaded for free from Pixabay were supposed to have the Creative Commons Attribution with them if I used them. I have always been so confused about what/how to attribute that I either don’t use the material or do a clumsy job of it. Glad that was covered in the Creative Commons site information.

  4. rachel says:

    Speaking of the “birthday” panels in the “Tales from the Public Domain” comic, I remember being incredulous some years ago when I found out the standard “happy birthday song” was copyrighted and movies and such have to pay a fee if they want to use it. It’s also one of the reasons restaurants have different spins on the song when they come to your table to sing you a quick happy birthday.
    Article on that here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33993718

    Navigating around copyrighted material is quite the game of hopscotch.

    • andrew says:

      When I figured out restaurants could not sing Happy Birthday because of copyright I lost a lot of hope for the world. Well, maybe not that dramatic, but seriously, how stupid is that? Though maybe it has spawned new ways to sing to people on their birthday. Maybe the greedy birthday grinch has opened up the door to the next big birthday song. Maybe one of us could buy it.

    • Steve Krause says:

      This is one thing that is different– or at least being contested now– since this comic was written. Apparently, the copyright claims about the “Happy Birthday song” are not valid or at least in dispute:

      http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-happy-birthday-song-lawsuit-decision-20150922-story.html

      This was last year, so I’m not quite sure where it is right now legally-speaking.

    • aderengo says:

      I always wondered why restaurants created their own version of that song. I thought it was cute, and not that they couldn’t use the version that everyone knows. It never occurred to me that song was copyrighted. It seems kind of ridiculous.

    • Marianne says:

      I remember being amazed by that, too. It reminds me that Michael Jackson has bought up the rights to a bunch of Beetles songs, among others, that expired. Can you imaging being Paul McCartney and having to pay Michael Jackson to sing your own songs? Amazing.

  5. Debra says:

    I think the comic was an excellent tool to cover the complicated subject of intellectual property, copyrights and fair use. It was easy to read through, and the frustration of someone who was trying to do the right thing was visually evident through visual expressions and dialogue. In an essay, this would have been hard to convey.

    Since my website will be about a music project, I immediately panicked, thinking about the images, links and music that weren’t mine! But then I remembered that I regularly select the “free to use” option when I search for images. Hopefully the element of the fair use provision where it referred to “nonprofit educational purposes” will also apply to our class projects.

    Lastly, as a Disney fan, I am always aware of copyrights (Mickey Mouse is still protected). I am aware of the tens of thousands of Disney fan sites, fan social media accounts, and fan podcasts that exist. Many of these do use subtle versions of Disney names and images, and are tolerated. Fan groups such as The Dis, WDW Today, WDW Radio, and Creating Disney Magic are able to co-exist with The Walt Disney Company. Pinterest and Etsy are full of handmade items that have Disney references, and there are photographers who make a living selling park photos.

    They are a good example of a company that sees value in its fandom having some reasonable amount of free reign to express creativity and love of Disney. The one area that Disney does lock down is music, movie clips and piracy of movies.

    • jmoss9 says:

      You are so right. If this had been an essay I imagine it would have been very difficult to follow, not nearly as entertaining or both.

    • Steve Krause says:

      The relationship between the likes of Disney and Warner Brothers and LucasFilm and fan remix culture is really interesting, and I think a lot of the examples that Debra is citing here is the results of “lessons learned.” For example, there was a time where Warner Brothers (which owns the “Harry Potter” franchise) was going after the fan sites, and the result was a lot of angry fans.

      The Star Wars folks responded to this by embracing these remixes. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjsFAZWnA00

    • Scott says:

      Personally, I would have liked to see the comic written in essay form, just because it seems to be slightly difficult to reference. There were so many good spots where there was a lot of information. For me the comic form made it more difficult to go back to parts that piqued my interest.

      • Steve Krause says:

        There is a bit of “essay-like” part at the end of the comic, by the way. It’s not a complete explanation of everything in the comic, but I think it’s their attempt to try to kind of/sort of give some of this information.

    • Marianne says:

      I remember learning a little about copyright in my graphic communications courses and they talked about Disney. My understanding was that people had to use different colors and change up some of the features of the characters if they wanted to draw them to use for commercial purposes. That’s understandable, at least.

  6. LouiseWrites says:

    I assumed it would be a shorter comic because I thought it would simply smooth out all the rules and some loopholes, but I’m glad it went into detail and used many different cultural references from a broad range of time to express the ideas. I’m surprised that now everything is automatically under copyright. I remember when I was in middle school I contributed to online writing websites where I could publish short stories and receive critiques. For the most part I remember the HUGE font many online writers would use to cover one or two pages before their story with legal notice of usage. I also noticed when people stopped doing that… One thing I am curious about is the disclaimer before any movie or book that states that any coincidence or similarity to people in real life is not on purpose. I did some fact hunting on wiki to research “substantial similarity”, but it seems to be more of a case-by-case basis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substantial_similarity. Although this is how I learned about “Paper Towns,” fictitious places created by mapmakers to test and see if their maps were being copied or not. Makes me wonder what I would call my fictitious town…

    Overall a very interesting read. The comic design reminded me of a book I read in my Illustrated Texts class for my children’s lit minor. I wish I remembered the name and author, but it was basically a comic book telling/showing its readers how to interpret itself. I like the meta approach of this “Fair Use” comic. It turned what could have been a dragging subject to something fun to read.

    • Debra says:

      I have never heard of paper towns, but that’s kind of cool that they used it as a tracking device. I know some photographers who can spot their photos being used on somebody’s website without permission. I’m amazed that they know their own photos so well even when they are not watermarked.

    • Marianne says:

      I never heard of paper towns before. You’re right about “substantial similarity” — it is all up to interpretation and I took depositions on many cases over the years I was a court reporter where people were suing for infringement, usually trademark or patent, but some copyright, including a bunch of college kids sued for downloading music way back in the 90s.

  7. andrew says:

    I got a kick out of the evil Big Bird.

    I did not know a lot of the information in this comic. I mean, I thought I knew a lot of it, but it was just incomplete info I picked up over the years. Which is kind of weird by the way. We notice how products are presented on television. There are the fake products that are created to mimic real ones to bypass copyright and trademark. I just assume now that seeing real products means that they were payed for. It was interesting to learn that may not always be the case.

    But the issues concerning documentaries is something I have never known about. It was frustrating to learn the possible hoops people have to go through.

    I have also never heard that copyright laws are there for the benefit of the artist as well, even though it may be tilting in favor of the corporations. I just assumed these laws were in place for people to hold on to any remaining capital that a product could produce.

    • jmoss9 says:

      First, evil Big bird was hilarious.

      Secondly, I thought I knew a bit about this subject also, simply from having seen documentaries or similar live action shows and how they do things like pixelate out certain logos on hats and t-shirts or background items. Until reading this comic I had no idea how complicated or far reaching copyright laws really are.

    • Marianne says:

      Evil Big Bird was totally hilarious. I had never really thought about the effects of these laws on people who make documentaries, although my text-to-hypertext project is making me think about it a bit.
      I always knew that the copyright laws were there to protect the artists but it just seems like things are frequently taken to extremes by people today.
      And with the products used in movies, it would seem like the manufacturers should be paying the movie makers to feature their products, but what do I know?

  8. ZoeBelle says:

    I appreciate this comic because the issue of copyright and things like that have always really freaked me out! Plus some of the comic book is perfectly “spooky” for Halloween today.. 🙂
    Like Jaclyn said, “complicated” is truly an understatement when it comes to the issue of copyright and the law. This is an issue anyone – even “good people” – could very easily fall into.
    Since my text-to-hypertext project will be about an experimental genre of music, I can already imagine the kind of audio and image sharing issues that I could face. Like Debra said, though, hopefully the “fair use provision” would apply to our projects since they are for educational and non-profit purposes.

  9. aderengo says:

    To say that copyright and usage rights are complicated is an understatement. These laws are still confusing sometimes. I have had heard lots of lectures on it from different professors in the marketing field. It’s an important topic, and one that you always needs to be aware of and stay up to date with. I liked how the comic book laid it out. It was different from what I thought it was going to be, but it made the information easy to understand.

    I know when using photos for the Codecademy exercises I wanted to make sure that I was using photos that were able to be used for reuse. Finding photos isn’t hard, but making sure that they are able to be reused for commercial/noncommercial, with or without modification is hard. Sometimes the fine print is confusing.

    This comic made me think about marketing and how there is no way to get away from it all. When working with a company you have permission to use the company logo, images of theirs, and some other works of theirs. Many times the other images, songs, clips, etc., that are needed to create and ad or commercial are potentially copyrighted material. Making sure that we can use certain things, businesses often have to pay to use certain materials. While works need to be protected, I sometimes wish that things were easier to understand in this area.

    • Steve Krause says:

      Though it’s important to remember that copyright isn’t all bad. After all, copyright is useful for individual artists/creators too like the likes of you and me.

    • Marianne says:

      Wow, marketing and ad agencies must have whole departments who do nothing but do research on ownership and try to get permissions for using things like photos and movies and songs. I never thought about how overwhelming that could be. Sure wish it were easier.

  10. ReneeG says:

    I am, and I think I always will be, a little confused when it comes to copyright laws. Like Jaclyn said, copyright law, fair use, and open-access issues are more than complicated. There is a lot of different factors that go into it and I don’t think I will ever truly be able to remember them all.

    I often find myself triple checking any essays, projects, etc that I write/create for the fear of accidentally using something that belongs to someone else. Even simple phrases can be copyrighted, so you have to be extremely careful about giving credit.

    I really liked the comic! It was enjoyable to look at, interesting, and very detailed.

    • aderengo says:

      I’m the same way, always double checking myself because their is this fear of not citing or using the materials in the right way that teachers and others have (in a sense) instilled in us. I don’t think they mean to make us afraid of using other works, but the way they explain it could be a little less harsh.

    • Marianne says:

      I am always worried about it too.
      I remember reading of a lawsuit where Johnny Carson sued a company in Detroit area and won because the company was using his signature saying “Heeeere’s Johnny!” Of course, it was a port-a-john company — I think he was humiliated to be associated with them. But still, a judge or jury agreed because he was awarded over $30,000 and they had to change their name so someone thought it was legitimate. Some people have no sense of humor.

  11. jmoss9 says:

    First, I very much appreciate the creative effort that went into this comic. I can not conceive of any other method of conveying this information that would be even close to as entertaining. While I cannot claim to be well versed in the dynamics of copyright law, I at least have a general understanding of them thanks to this comic. Had this been presented in an essay I am guessing it would have only made things more confusing and it would have been a chore to even read.

    The biggest surprise to me was that even the background sounds and images are subject to needing approval. While I fully agree that the people that created the music or programs deserve to be paid for their efforts and deserve to have a measure of control of their work being used, it seems a bit of a stretch when something is incidentally playing in the background of a documentary. Especially the part about the Simpsons when the creator Matt Groening was okay with it being used but Fox wanted to be paid. As an outsider that seems to venture into the land of pure greed.

  12. jjwourman says:

    I really don’t like comics and had a hard time navigating through this read. I do appreciate how the information was presented in an enjoyable way, because copyright laws can be tricky. In one of the comic strips, a dialogue took place about being able to use copywritten works without permission — only if they were found in the public domain. The response went into a discussion on exceptions built into copyright laws like “fair use” and what that entails.

    All of this is still somewhat unclear to me, and that is why I greatly appreciate creative commons. I remember for a project last semester I had to find several images for an ignite presentation. My professor suggested we use Creative Commons for all our images. This was the first time I visited the sight, and I found it very helpful to know which images were copy written, and which images I could use freely.

    The feeling of using an image online and not knowing if someone will come after you one day, saying you stole their image or illegally used it is always in the back of my mind. Sites like Creative Commons is great and the sharing of images is also a plus.

    — Ja’La

    • Steve Krause says:

      I’m glad you mentioned this about comics, Ja’La. Long story short, I came to comics kind of late in my life too. I never really cared about comics one way or the other when I was a kid, for example.

      For all kinds of different reasons (including this comic!), I’ve come around to appreciating and even enjoying comics. But it is a different way of reading, a different literacy skill. It takes a different approach as a reader (user), and comics have different uses/purposes/affordances than more traditional “words in a row” sorts of writing.

      That’s something to keep in mind about your text to hypertext project, too. Web sites also have different uses/purposes/affordances than traditional “words in a row” sorts of writing. That’s a big part of the challenge and the purposes of the web site assignment, too.

    • Marianne says:

      I’m not a comic person, either, Ja’La. I also thought there were certain parts that I would have appreciated being in a more structured format, too. Thankfully, I got most of the references in the comics so it wasn’t an issue for this instance, but it is in others.
      It dawned on me while reading this that some of the free image sites say attribution is required and I have never paid attention to that when I am getting images. I usually try to use my own images as much as possible but sometimes it isn’t. I will definitely have to pay closer attention.

  13. Scott says:

    Ever since I found out about the text to hypertext project, I’ve been thinking about how I can use images from the internet. I’ve known about Creative Commons for awhile now and it is a good source to get images and content to use or modify fairly and freely. I think the only draw back is that there is a limited amount of materials that don’t have copyright restrictions. For my hypertext project I have already come across a number of vector images I found on freepik.com and Adobe images, and modified in Adobe Illustrator. So far the ones I have worked with have instructions for free licencing and acknowledging where I got the images.

    As far as the comic is concerned, there is a lot of really useful information packed in. It was an imaginative and creative way to present the topic of fair use and copyrighting materials, but because there is so much going on with the images and text, it was kind of distracting and hard to follow. At one point one of the characters mentioned something about how taking in all this copyright information that it’s kind of dizzying. I definitely agree. Especially after reading Redish’s book about making websites easy to look at and follow, it would have been interesting to see the comic book written in more of a formal way.

    Judge Kozinski said, “Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it. Creativity is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Overprotection stifles the very creative forces it’s supposed to nurture” This part really stood out to me because I hadn’t seen how government can really help influence the creative process for fair use. Kozinski really emphasizes the importance of having a balance of fair use.

    • Marianne says:

      I never realized before this semester just how important open source public domain media was. It seems to be coming up more and more in all my classes. I loved the way the judge explained it, too. Balanced and fair is so hard to achieve when everybody has a different idea of what fair is or what balanced is. We as a country can’t seem to agree on much of anything so how can we agree on that?

  14. Joan Kwaske says:

    I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of how complicated piracy laws were. Anytime I read a book or watch a movie/show that has any sort of brand or song in it, I wonder how much they have to pay to use it. I don’t worry about it in everyday life because- frankly- piracy is still everywhere. If everyone who ripped music from Youtube actually went to prison, I doubt even half of the people on campus would still be here.
    As Jaclyn said, pirated material makes up a vast amount of social media. Sites like Tumblr and Facebook have blogs/pages dedicated to specific novels, television shows, movies, etc, and yet nobody’s arrested or fined for the copyrighted material they post.
    Personally, I love that I can access some of this material without having to pay for the entire book/movie/show. I do, however, get frustrated when amateur art is being posted without credit. I suppose I draw the line at those who don’t need any more money and those who make little to no money from their work. Stick it to the man, but help the little guy out.
    (Also, some of those birthday-but-not-Happy-Birthday songs are really annoying.)

  15. Steve Krause says:

    Joan’s comment about never being in a time where she wasn’t aware of piracy issues and the like reminds me a bit of a movie that I’ve taught for some classes in the past called RiP! A Remix Manifesto, which was actually made by the same guy who made/put together Do Not Track, Brett Gaylor. Here’s a link to the video:

    http://www.nfb.ca/film/rip_a_remix_manifesto/

    It’s a really interesting documentary about the sort of implications of the remix culture and copyright. Among many many MANY other things, Gaylor talks a lot about creative commons, copyright, and how remix artists (think about video and audio mashups) clearly problematize the restrictions of the “old” copyright system. It’s definitely worth watching.

  16. totallykyle94 says:

    The information contained in the ‘Bound by Law’ comic about copyright and trademark laws is truly staggering, but unlike some have noted, I did like the comic style that the authors used. Although the terms, definitions, etc. were overwhelming to read about at times, I would much rather have read this comic than read an essay or something to that effect. An example of copyright issues that I can think of is the use of what’s called “sampling” in music, where aspects or direct audio clips from a different song are used in a new one, and I have seen cases where the original artist came after the artist using their song even of the music was not released commercially. I can only imagine how complicated this issue gets, and that’s just music. However, I do also see the benefits of copyright laws, which protect intellectual properties and things of that nature. I am glad that organizations such as Creative Commons exist to spread the idea of being collaborative instead of competitive with one another. I will definitely be taking these things into consideration for my project.

  17. MattZ says:

    I’ve written research papers on copyright law and the public domain for other classes. When someone says that these laws are complicated, I have to laugh. Complicated is an understatement. While these laws were originally intended to help people and to foster creativity, they have become monsters that only serve large corporations.

    Seriously, actually go and take a look at the laws. I have, and I can assure you that it would take a large legal team to even begin to decipher what’s going on over there.

    The government knows this is a problem, they just refuse to do anything about it. One of the more interesting things I’ve come across was a memo from the Republicans about copyright and what was wrong with it. Unfortunately, they pulled the memo a few days after issuing it.
    Read it here: https://www.eff.org/document/rsc-report-three-myths-about-copyright-law

    These laws have a much bigger impact on everyone, and almost nobody knows anything about them. If we want to change this, then people need to be educated about it. According to a study I found called, “Isn’t it just a way to protect Walt Disney’s rights?” most people couldn’t even define what constituted copyright infringement. Even more fascinating was that the majority of participants who knew about copyright agreed with the premise of giving creators money for their works, but were at complete odds with the current copyright industry.

    • Marianne says:

      Isn’t it amazing how complicated so many of our laws are? I wonder if they do it on purpose just to keep lawyers in business? Self-preservation or something?
      Seems like there could be a common agency or organization that kept the records of who owns what copyright or pattent or trademark, etc., and then anytime someone wants to use it, they can just fill out an online application where they explain exactly what they want to use, how much of it, where and when and why, and then the owner can be contacted to approve if they want to or the organization can just agree to take that responsibility, and they can collect the money for the owners, kinda like Library of Congress meets PayPal! Hmmm–do you think I could make money with an app to do this? Wait, my idea first!

  18. Marianne says:

    I find the creative commons licenses, or specifically how to attribute when using something covered by one, a bit confusing and one of the pages I clicked on gave sample language that helped clear that up for me. One of my projects is providing original photographs to Wikimedia Commons. I realized that some of the photos I was going to upload weren’t mine but my brother-in-law’s. At first I figured he wouldn’t mind if I shared them, but then I realized that it wasn’t my choice to decide and I had better ask him before doing so. Glad to have the language and the text of the different types of licenses cleared up.

    As I was reading this comic book (all 78 pages of it, I was thinking it was “clear as mud” and way too complicated for anyone to get a firm grasp of the laws.
    Thinking about how we make everything so complicated these days, I was reminded that the Daguerrotype was purchased by the French government as a free gift to the world, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daguerreotype) which is the first creative commons example I have ever heard of. But then when I looked it up to make sure I had it right, I saw this paragraph in the article and realized that history repeats itself.

    “Daguerre did not patent and profit from his invention in the usual way. Instead, it was arranged that the French government would acquire the rights in exchange for a lifetime pensions to Daguerre and to Niépce’s son and heir, Isidore. The government would then present the daguerreotype process “free to the world” as a gift, which it did on 19 August 1839. However, five days previously to this, Miles Berry, a patent agent acting on Daguerre’s behalf filed for patent No. 8194 of 1839: “A New or Improved Method of Obtaining the Spontaneous Reproduction of all the Images Received in the Focus of the Camera Obscura.” The patent applied to “England, Wales, and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and in all her Majesty’s Colonies and Plantations abroad.”[43][44] This was the usual wording of English patent specifications before 1852. It was only after the 1852 Act, which unified the patent systems of England, Ireland and Scotland, that a single patent protection was automatically extended to the whole of the British Isles, including the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Richard Beard bought the patent rights from Miles Berry, and also obtained a Scottish patent, which he apparently did not enforce. The United Kingdom and the “Colonies and Plantations abroad” therefore became the only places where a license was legally required to make and sell daguerreotypes.[44][45]”

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