Show Me What You Learned (Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog)

My parody of E-40 and Keak the Sneak’s song “Tell Me When To Go”

No video, just a static picture.

The lyrics can be found here

On a serious note, knowing more specifics about convergent culture and copyright law will help me as the collaboration is a goal of mine for my final project, and the law part will help me stay legal. The book “The Art of Possibility” probably had the greatest impact on me that will not only help me going into the media project and finishing the thesis, but with my teaching as well.

Sources

Blog gang sign. (n.d.) http://blog.theavclub.tv

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press

Zander, R. & Zander, B. (2002). The art of possibility: Transforming professional and personal life. New York: Penguin Books.

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Week 3: Fair Use

Oh Dear. (n.d.) Source: http://www.clevelandfrowns.com

Oh Dear. (n.d.) Source: http://www.clevelandfrowns.com

This from the U.S. Copyright Office: “The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.” There you have it. No 30-second rule, no 6 notes/words rule (as my former creative producer/Nashville writer once told me), nada.

Speaking of copyright, one of my favorite copyright cases is the battle over Winnie the pooh, in which the guy who owned the merchandising rights to the bear quietly waited for Disney to turn Winnie into a billion-dollar-a-year cashbox, then sued Disney for a couple billion dollars. I love it. Incidentally, I am wondering if a tatoo of Winnie the pooh is copyright infringement . . .

Seriously. I want to know.

winnie napkin (n.d.) Source: www.izzys-party-shop.com

winnie napkin (n.d.) Source: http://www.izzys-party-shop.com

Winnie will be released into public domain in 2026. I’m wondering why he should become public domain at all. I need someone to explain to me the necessity of public domain again. Disney invested all of the money that it took to make Winnie a cultural icon. Why should they, and his creators, not benefit from that for eternity? I have a different take on copyrighted works that our culture has made the investment in to promote to such high status.

The best example of a work in this category is “Happy Birthday to You.” Nobody spent a ton of money to promote this song and make it into an international hit. We did it for free. Yet the song generates 2 million dollars a year for Time-Warner. It is actually copyright infringement to perform this song publicly. This I have trouble understanding, as the “exclusive right to public performances” makes sense when the composer is actually ALIVE and able to perform. Seeing as how the writer of the words (the melody is now in public domain) is dead, how can a public performance be infringement? Logically, it can’t be, yet legally it is. This is a work that I have no problem with becoming public domain, and yet another illustration of our in-need-of-repair copyright system.

Week 2 Vid: Good Copy Bad Copy

This documentary deals with the multi faceted issue of copyright, which, in my opinion, is in serious trouble, and brings to mind this quote from Aristotle’s Politics: “Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered.” As Lawrence Lessig points out, the law is strangling creativity.

LuMaxArt Gold Guys With Creative Commons Symbol. (February 20, 2008). Source: www.lumaxart.com

LuMaxArt Gold Guys With Creative Commons Symbol. (February 20, 2008). Source: http://www.lumaxart.com

As a avid proponent of property laws, I find myself truly perplexed. I find that most people dismiss intellectual claims to property as “greed-driven”, selfish, or monopolistic. “All of humanity can benefit from [x], therefore we should all have access to it. To which I reply: Forget that! Did you think that Jobs spent all of that money for R&D on the ipod just to benefit humanity? Do you think Speilberg directs movies just to express his artistic vision? If that were the case, he would give his movies away for free. Without protection of the law, most of the great inventions and works or art we benefit from today would not exist. Few people can devote the time it takes to produce an album or movie for free, and even if they could, so what? If I don’t have a right to decide when and where and how my work is used, then I don’t really own it, do I? For those with the “humanity has a right to things that will benefit it” argument: Where did you get that idea from? Does humanity have any collective rights over your body, mind, or any of the property in your house? Not unless you decide they do. To truly be a free people, we must have the right to make the decision to be greedy, selfish, or whatever else you want to call it, and we must have laws that protect that right.

This symbol taken from a site that promotes piracy, therefore I am not crediting it.

This symbol taken from a site that promotes piracy, therefore I am not crediting it.

Yes, the “Grey Album” was sweet. Yes Girl Talk has skills. Unfortunately, those who control the Beatles catalogue don’t want their music mixed with Jay Z’s profane style of entertainment. Thank God they have the right to decide what happens with music they own. “But their killing creativity!” you say. Really? Last time I checked Danger Mouse was still creating things. As for Girl Talk, he can still be creative in the club without actually selling other peoples work for his own profit. I also know that it would not take as long as he indicated in this video to secure the rights to legally sell those albums. It would probably take a month or less. Those people want to make money, and if you can make it for them, they will expedite your requests quickly!

Meanwhile, for those of us who are sick of the RIAA, MPAA, and congress who makes new laws to benefit an exclusive few, their is Creative Commons, which grows more and more powerful every day. Eventually, things will turn around and many more artists and labels will make their work much more accessible. In the meantime, we don’t have to fight the war by doing things that are illegal. All we have to do is use the right channels to show the big boys that there is money to be had by loosening their grip a little bit. They’ll come around sooner rather than later if we do so.

Sources

Johnsen, A., Christensen R., & Moltke, H. (Directors). (2007). Good copy bad copy. [Motion picture]. Denmark: DR

Lumax Art. (2008) [LuMaxArt gold guys with creative commons symbol], [Online Image]. Retrieved July 17, 2009 from Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LuMaxArt_Gold_Guys_With_Creative_Commons_Symbol.jpg

Music Pirate. Forget them. They don’t get cited.