Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Copyright But Were Afraid to Ask

If you’ve got 80 minutes to spare, watch RiP: A Remix Manifesto, a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.

If you’ve got 20 minutes to spare, watch Professor Lawrence Lessig‘s TED Talk, where he shows how current laws strangle creativity.

But if you’ve only 3 minutes to spare, watch Madeon‘s live mashup of 39 songs while asking yourself this: Should each of the sampled artists have the power to demand this video be removed due to copyright infringement?
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTx3G6h2xyA

Copying Is Not Theft

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeTybKL1pM4
YouTube

Copying Is Not Theft is the first meme in the Minute Memes series, and was supported by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Animation, lyrics, and tune by Nina Paley. Music arranged by Nik Phelps; vocals by Connie Champagne. Released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

Lyrics:
Copying is not theft.
Stealing a thing leaves one less left
Copying it makes one thing more;
that’s what copying’s for.

Copying is not theft.
If I copy yours you have it too
One for me and one for you
That’s what copies can do

If I steal your bicycle
you have to take the bus,
but if I just copy it
there’s one for each of us!

Making more of a thing,
that is what we call “copying”
Sharing ideas with everyone
That’s why copying
is
FUN!

This Post is for Amir Benayun ONLY

If you are reading this post, you must be Israeli singer, Amir Benayun (and no one else!).
I have found a video lying around the Internet and I think it belongs to you. At least that’s what I understood from the following takedown notice on YouTube:
[singlepic id=267 w=525 h=525 float=center]
As you probably know, the sure way to make a video appear everywhere is to try to take it down claiming you own the copyrights. Fair use? Fair mousse! That’s why I felt it was my civic duty to put this video here, for you to take and put it away:

After you have finished downloading it to your home, the video will naturally disappear from this post, and I will know you are keeping it safe where no one can illegally watch it. I am very sorry I had to post this video here, as I am not even sure I agree with its premise, but I felt I had to help you collect every piece of copyrighted material you own.

H/T: room404.net

Introducing the Mizoram Synod Choir

I will try to tell the story of how people I have never heard of, who live in a place I have never heard of, and speak a language I have never heard of – have used a photograph I took for the cover art of their musical album.

[singlepic id=260 w=525 h=257 float=center]

At the end of 2001 I went to India and spent about six months backpacking. One photo I took was of a street beggar. I shot it in a small village called Hampi in the state of Karnataka in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. I actually took half a dozen shots of the same man, and what I particularly liked about this one is the enigmatic face, glistening with sweat. I felt it conveyed the true meaning of being that person.

[singlepic id=259 w=300 h=456 float=right]Back then I wasn’t blogging yet, but I did manage to develop, print, scan and email that photo to folks at home. Fast forward to 2007 when I started blogging and one of the first things I did was retroactively post my travelling correspondence, including this one.

Now we get to two days ago, when I noticed quite a bit of traffic coming to my website from this forum post. I could not understand what language the site was using, but from the bits in English I could decipher the post was discussing the similarity between the cover art of an album and that of Assassin’s Creed, a video game – both featured a hooded man. A user by the name of Angaiha was able to track down the source for the man in the cover art: Yes, it was my photograph.

Upon further investigation it turns out that the cover art was for a choir named Synod Choir for their video CD titled Pathian Hmel which apparently will set you back a hundred Indian Rupees (a little more than two bucks). Oh, yes, it turns out that this musical ensemble comes from the Indian state of Mizoram which I have never heard of, inhabited by Mizo people who speak (and sing) in Mizo language and look nothing like the Indian people I have met travelling.

How do I know what Mizo people look like? Glad you asked, as it gives me the chance to direct your attention to the album’s eponymous song:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jFJuaxppCM

It should be mentioned that everything I post on this blog falls under a Creative Commons license which allows for certain uses of it, but using any of the content for commercial purposes goes beyond that scope. Basically, there are legal ramification for the unauthorized usage of my photo, but I will not get into that at this time.

Watch This 80 Minutes Film And Become An Informed Citizen of This Digital Age

In RiP: A Remix Manifesto, web activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor explores issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers. The film’s central protagonist is Girl Talk, a mash-up musician topping the charts with his sample-based songs. But is Girl Talk a paragon of people power or the Pied Piper of piracy? Creative Commons founder, Lawrence Lessig, Brazil’s Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil and pop culture critic Cory Doctorow are also along for the ride.

Check out the film trailer:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oar9glUCL0

You can watch the film on DVD or VOD.

YouTube to Viacom: YOU LIE!

Suing YouTube for 1 billion dollars, Viacom in their opening statements (which have been made public today) claimed the leading video site does not do enough in dealing with copyrighted material; To which YouTube retorted:

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt “very strongly” that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

Oh snap!

To fully understand the absurdity of all this you might want to check out my post titled Gaining Better Understanding of Our Digital Age.
I’ll let Professor Lawrence Lessig summarize:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5pHeV3jF48

Video: Home Taping is Killing Music

Musician Dan Bull, whose letters to Lily Allen and Lord Mandelson both became YouTube hits, has done it again; His latests piece is about the music industry’s consistent refusal to accept or adapt to new technology, from the gramophone to the jukebox to commercial radio to the internet. His song, and accompanying video focuses on the most famous campaign, the ill-judged 80s classic; Home Taping is Killing Music.
Check out the British campaign against the Digital Economy Bill at DontDisconnect.us
Lyrics after the jump.
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3jkUhG68wY
Continue reading Video: Home Taping is Killing Music

Hey! Associated Press, Please Sue My Newspaper!

I am sure everyone had seen the Obama HOPE poster by Shepard Fairey, but I am not so sure many people follow up on the legal issues behind it. The basic plot goes like this: before creating the work, Fairey used Google to search for an Obama image as a reference. He found an image he liked and created what became a ubiquitous poster. More than a year after the poster went viral the Associated Press contacted Fairey, claimed they own the original image and wanted to sue him for damages. The best thing about it is that the photographer who actually took the original photo, Mannie Garcia, is not an AP employee but a freelancer who claims he holds the copyright and is not just fine with what Fairey created – he is proud of him. Here’s Fairey in his own words:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-56rcLxmk4

We live in interesting times. Technology is evolving so fast, we can barely keep up with the ethical and moral questions raised. And so if the AP chooses to put themselves at the wrong side of progress and sue Fairey for his use of the original photo, I plead with them to please also sue my newspaper Maariv and its caricaturist Zeus (Ron Zisenbach) who yesterday published the following image, in clear violation of the AP standard of fair use:
Obama Caricature in Israeli Newspaper Maariv - July 21, 2009
The Hebrew text says: “solar eclipse”

Israel in Top 10 List of Copyright Infringements, Says New Report

A report released yesterday by BayTSP titled “Online Trends & Insights – 2008″, asserts that the cumulative number of copyright infringements from Israel during that year is 3,655,253. That raises Israel from 13th place in 2007, to 9th place in 2008 – or 2nd place per capita. It should be mentioned that this is not an independent report, and that BayTSP like any other anti-P2P company has a vested interest in making the numbers seem bigger.
BayTSP Report: Israel is in Top 10 List of Copyright Infringements

Hat tip to TorrentFreak.