Happy Fair Use Day! Happy Fair Use Day!

Happy Fair Use Day!

Following the disheartening Tintin story posted below, it seems appropriate to note that today, January 12, marks the first ever World’s Fair Use Day. The event is taking place in Washington, DC, and they’re showing live webcasts of all the panels. The event is organized by the DC non-profit Public Knowledge whose mission statement is “to ensure that communications and intellectual property policies encourage creativity, further free expression and discourse and provide universal access to knowledge.” Speakers at the event include a number of animators and cartoonists like Nina Paley of Sita Sings the Blues fame, Dan Walsh (Garfield Minus Garfield) and Machinima artist Chris Burke. The event’s keynote will be delivered by Pennsylvania congressman Mike Doyle, who will discuss the important of fair use in the digital age. The webcast starts in a few minutes so head on over to WorldsFairUseDay.org.

  • Scarabim

    Frankly it sounds like it should be called Copyright Violation Day.

    I see a lot of questionable stuff, especially at places like Deviant Art, where people’s characters are “fairly used” (?)in some very questionable ways, via (usually badly-drawn) art. Which is then posted on the net where any little kid can access it. Since Deviant Art surely makes a profit off its site, isn’t its support of the use (or abuse, as it may be) of other people’s creations for personal….satisfaction an abuse of a creator’s right to control how his/her creation is depicted?

    It’s like how You Tube handles theft…it will take down illegal downloads of movies, yet not take down video entries which direct users to sites which have illegal downloads of movies and shows. Some of those sites ask for “donations”, and that, kids, amounts to piracy. Such piracy hurts creative people most of all. So why doesn’t You Tube delete those entries? And why does Deviant Art allow questionable art using copyrighted characters to be displayed on its site?

    What the heck is Fair Use, anyway?

  • amid

    Scarabim: Fair use and public domain can be confusing topics if you are unfamiliar with them, but they are two of the most vital tools that a creative artist has at their disposal. Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, South Park, and Mad Magazine could not exist without the protection for parody and satire in fair use laws. Public domain laws gave Disney the right to create films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, The Jungle Book and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    To equate fair use and public domain with copyright violation is factually incorrect. You can find summaries as well as in-depth information about copyright, fair use, and public domain at the Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center website.

  • Unfortunately, many fair-use advocates are willfully spreading false notions about fair-use and public domain.

    Their position boils down to “It’s free to take if I say it is because I’m an artist, and if you disagree you’re a dangerous corporate shill”

  • amid

    robcat2075: How does a small minority of people misrepresenting fair use and public domain diminish the actual law or makes its discussion any less valuable? I’d also be curious to have you share more info about these “many fair-use advocates” that you know of who are trying to subvert copyright.

  • Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues is truly excellent! You can get your copy on DVD at Amazon or Netflix today! Enjoy!

  • Fair use and public domain are separate issues.

    An author, for example, who puts copyrighted images in his book is in compliance with United States (but not most Commonwealth countries) laws as long as it an academic use for study. TV Funhouse lampooning Mickey Mouse is fair use as parody.

    Even a student using “Sympathy for the Devil” in their thesis project is fair use as academic study.

    None of that is public domain.

    By conflating the terms “fair use” and “public domain” one sets them up as “two things that aren’t copyright”. Given the mostly Cable-News style “debate” tactics by both corporate apologists and “free culturalists”, it’s unfair to put all these legal rights in the same domain

  • Garfield Minus Garfield is a fair use project; it’s used with the intention of entertaining people by editing comic strips. And it’s hilarious; I have a G – G strip as my computer wallpaper right now.

  • Hey Folks, Did you know that almost all cable signals are now scrambled to permit only ONE copy of the program to be made on a VTR only, NOT a DVD recorder? Try copying a show on your DVR or Tivo, then dub it to video tape. That works OK, but just TRY to dub your tape to a DVD, or to dub your Tivo, or DVR recording direct to a DVD and see what happens! Your copy is blocked! There IS a solution, it’s called the Videofilter. Write to: [email protected] to find out the details and you can order one for about $169.00. This device over-rides the blocked signals encoded on your recordings without your knowledge by your friendly cable service! It will help restore “fair use” in your home. Note, not “free use” but “fair use”!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Thank you Mark for showing us the way (though I hardly bother recording anything on TV anymore personally).

  • Scarabim

    Thanks, Amid. I understand about people’s characters being used for parody or satire. What I don’t understand is why sites like Deviant Art let “artists” use characters from, say, the Fairly Odd Parents for yaoi smut, which, thanks to Deviant Art, is thereby easily found by children accessing the internet. From what I understand, the owners of such characters can do little to combat this version of “fair use”. An ironic term, BTW: It may be use, but I don’t think it’s fair – to the creators.