Posts Tagged ‘blog: things you should check out’.

Check Out: A New Index of Copyright Fair Use Cases

THE BATTLE OF COPYRIGHT  2011
Source: Christopher Dombres via Flickr

The U.S. Copyright Office has launched a new Fair Use Index:

Fair use is a longstanding and vital aspect of American copyright law. The goal of the Index is to make the principles and application of fair use more accessible and understandable to the public by presenting a searchable database of court opinions, including by category and type of use (e.g., music, internet/digitization, parody).

The Fair Use Index is designed to be user-friendly. For each decision, we have provided a brief summary of the facts, the relevant question(s) presented, and the court’s determination as to whether the contested use was fair.

The Index itself is a series of summaries of key legal decisions regarding copyright and fair use, largely from the last sixty years.

It’s super interesting to me! Wondermark is, of course, created using images from the public domain. Which is not the same as fair use; public domain works have no copyright, whereas fair use is made of works that are copyrighted.

But copyright in all its gleaming facets is still a topic near and dear to my heart as an artist, author, and attentive internet citizen: I’ve written a fair amount about copyright and intellectual property.

The Fair Use Index includes some watershed copyright cases, such as 1978′s Walt Disney Productions v. Air Pirates, the precedent that defines the infringement threshold for copying copyrighted characters for “parody” purposes.

It might be said that under the Air Pirates test, the entire product line of the t-shirt website TeeFury is illegal, and I notice that very conveniently, most of their designs are only available in strictly limited, before-they-can-send-us-a-cease-and-desist editions.

Also included is the “Betamax” case, 1984′s Sony Corporation v. Universal City Studios, which ruled that recording a free broadcast of live television onto videotape for later home viewing — referred to as “time-shifting” — was, indeed, legal. “Home taping” (of both television and radio) was the big I.P. boogieman threat before “piracy”, and this court decision was what enabled the VCR, as a consumer device, to exist at all.

In browsing, I also came across some interesting cases I hadn’t heard about before, such as:

• 1985′s MGM v. Honda Motor Corp., in which MGM sued — and won — claiming that a spy-themed Honda commercial was too reminiscent of their copyrighted character, James Bond (and that it damaged the James Bond brand to show him in a Honda);

• 2004′s MasterCard v. Nader 2000, in which MasterCard sued — and lost — a copyright infringement suit against Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign commercials which copied/parodied its “priceless” slogan;

• 2006′s CleanFlicks v. Soderbergh, in which the company CleanFlicks, which edited objectionable content out of Hollywood movies and re-sold them to customers who preferred them that way, sought a declaratory judgment that doing so was legal — and lost. They thought they’d be OK because they’d buy a copy of the actual DVD, add in the edited version, and re-sell that precise physical DVD — not unlike buying a book, blacking out various passages, and then re-selling that physical book. Anyway, they lost;

• And of course, 2011′s CCA and B v. F+W Media, which ruled that the parody book Elf Off the Shelf (featuring a drunken, naughty elf), was, indeed, legal. Thank God for that.

The Fair Use Index: really great browsing, if you’re interested in copyright!

Check out: Tabletop Deathmatch

The folks at Cards Against Humanity have just finished their new webseries, Tabletop Deathmatch! Here’s the first episode:

The whole series is 17 episodes long and if, like me, you’re interested in tabletop game design and would like to listen to knowledgeable people discuss it, I recommend giving the show a try!

I am saying so not ONLY because I am one of the playtesters in episode four :O

I'M THE KING OF CHICAGAH

Check out: ‘Bored and Brilliant’ – The Case for Boredom

illustration credit: John Hersey

I’ve recently started listening to the WNYC public radio show New Tech City. It’s an interesting and well-done show! (The episodes are also not that long, so it’s a quick listen.)

Recently they’ve been doing a series called ‘Bored and Brilliant’. From the episode called ‘The Case for Boredom’:

Paying attention to our smartphones through so many of our waking moments means our minds don’t spend as much time idling. [...]

Mann’s research finds that idle minds lead to reflective, often creative thoughts (we discuss her projects in depth in this week’s show). Minds need to wander to reach their full potential.

During bouts of boredom our brains can’t help but jump around in time, analyzing and re-analyzing the pieces of our lives, says Jonny Smallwood, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of York in the UK. He says inspiration strikes in the shower because it’s a moment when we’re not really looking at or focusing on anything else. [...]

“That’s where daydreaming and boredom intersect,” Smallwood says. “What smartphones allow us to do is get rid of boredom in a very direct way because we can play games, phone people, we can check the Internet. It takes away the boredom, but it also denies us the chance to see and learn about where we truly are in terms of our goals.”

In addition to being some good, interesting radio to listen to, the Bored and Brilliant series is also presenting a challenge. They’re asking people to sign up for an experiment in which they make certain experimental changes to the way they relate to their phones.

To start with, they’re asking for people to record baseline behavior…And then, starting in February, they’ll actually start giving daily instructions to experiment participants.

I’m down for it — I’m fascinated by what we can learn about ourselves, what kinds of unconscious things come out, when we pay close attention to our habits, and try to examine or tinker with them.

Whether you want to sign up for the experiment, or just want to check out the show, visit Bored and Brilliant at New Tech City!

Check out: Design inspiration from Aaron Draplin

I really like this. Aaron Draplin, founder of Draplin Design Company in Portland and designer behind the Field Notes brand of notebooks, designs a logo from scratch in about ten minutes.

The resulting video is an explanation of the process a thoughtful designer goes through, and a demonstration of the power that experience and deep understanding brings to any sort of craftsmanship.

I find this sort of thing super inspiring! And Draplin has an easygoing, chummy enthusiasm that’s fun to listen to, too.

Here he is again, describing the workflow for creating a laurel element in Illustrator — but far more than just a design tutorial, it’s a metaphor for a deeper and more broadly applicable lesson about craft in general.

This third video is a brief bit of portfolio advice (that, ironically, uses ugly title cards I’m sure Draplin himself would make fun of).

Recommended for inspiration!

AdWeek has collected a few more videos of Draplin’s lengthier public talks and presentations, as well.

Bonus Holiday Comic from the Funny Pages Zine

OR WHATEVER

Those of you who subscribed to Cards Against Humanity’s special Ten Days Or Whatever Of Kwanzaa promotion this year will be receiving a special Funny Pages Zine — a newspaper comics section with a bunch of holiday-themed comic strips in it!

This year I was honored to be asked to participate as well. Here’s a preview of the comic I made:

cah-comic

You can read the whole thing here!

All of this year’s (and last year’s) comics are on the Funny Pages Zine tumblr.