Is Copyright Needed To Stop Plagiarism?

from the let-the-community-do-its-job dept

Whenever I speak about Free Culture at schools, I'm asked "what about plagiarism?" Copying and plagiarism are two quite different things, and you don't need copyright to deal with plagiarism. To make this clearer, I made a one-minute meme song and video about it:

As Mimi demonstrates with the giant Copy Machine, copying a work means copying its attribution too:

just copy the credit along with the work

When people copy songs and movies, they don't change the authors' names. Plagiarism is something else: it's lying. If Copyright has anything to do with plagiarism, it's that it makes it easier to plagiarize (because works and their provenance aren't public and are therefore easier to obscure and lie about) and increases incentive to do so (because copying with attribution is as illegal as copying without, and including attribution makes the infringement more conspicuous). American Copyright law does not protect attribution to begin with; it is concerned only with "ownership," not authorship.  Many artists sign their attributions away with the "rights" they sell, which is why it can be difficult to know which artists contributed to corporate works.

I chose Beethoven to illustrate how copyright has nothing to do with preventing plagiarism. All Beethoven's work is in the Public Domain. Legally, you can take Ludwig van Beethoven's songs, Jane Austen's novels, or Eadweard Muybridge's photographs and put any name you want on them. Go ahead! You're at no risk of legal action. Your reputation may suffer, however, and you definitely won't be fooling anyone. If anyone has doubts, they can use that same copy machine - the Internet - to sort out who authored what. Lying is very difficult in a public, transparent system. A good analog to this is public encryption keys: their security comes from their publicity.

The song says "always give credit where credit is due," but in many cases credit is NOT due. For example, how many credits should be at the end of this film? I devoted about two and a half seconds to these credits:

Movie and Song by Nina Paley
Vocals by Bliss Blood

But I could have credited far more. In fact, the credits could take longer than the movie. Here are some more credits:

Ukelele: Bliss Blood
Guitar: Al Street
Recorded by Bliss Blood and Al Street

What about sound effects? Were it not for duration constraints, this would be in the movie:

Sound Effects Design by Greg Sextro

Every single sound effect in the cartoon was made by someone. Should I credit each one? Crash-wobble by (Name of Foley Artist Here). Cartoon zip-run by (Name of Other Foley Artist Here). And so on: dozens of sound effects were used in the cartoon, and each one had an author. What about the little noises Mimi & Eunice make? Not only could the recording engineer be credited, but the voice actor as well (as far as I know, these were both Greg Sextro).

I included a few seconds of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony at the end, which I didn't credit in the movie.  Should I have? Why or why not?

I could credit the characters:

Starring:
Mimi
Eunice
& Special Guest Appearance by
Ludwig van Beethoven

I could be more detailed in crediting myself:

Lyrics and Melody by Nina Paley
Character design: Nina Paley
Animation: Nina Paley
Produced by Nina Paley
Directed by Nina Paley
Edited by Nina Paley
Backgrounds by Nina Paley
Color design by Nina Paley
Layout: Nina Paley
Based on the comic strip "Mimi & Eunice" by Nina Paley

And the funder!

This Minute Meme was funded by a generous grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

I didn't even make a card for the Minute Memes logo. Should that be in there?

I used a Public Domain painting of Beethoven for the Beethoven character, which is by Joseph Karl Stieler.  Who photographed the painting? Who digitized the photograph? Is credit due here?

File:Beethoven.jpg

The ass drawing also came from Wikimedia Commons, where it's credited to Pearson Scott Foresman. But who actually drew it? I have no idea. I doubt that Pearson Scott Foresman could even legally claim the copyright on it to "donate" to Wikimedia in the first place, but there they are, getting credit for it instead of an artist. That's because copyright is only concerned with "ownership," not authorship.

Then there's the software I used, good old pre-Adobe Macromedia Flash. Should I credit the software? What about the programmers who contributed to the software?
I also used a Macintosh computer (I know, I know, when Free Software and Open Hardware come close to doing what my old system does, I'll be the first to embrace it) and a Wacom Cintiq pen monitor. How many people deserve credit for these in my movie?

File:Ass (PSF).png

Mimi and Eunice themselves were "inspired" by many historical cartoons. Early Disney and Fleischer animations, the "rubber hose" style, Peanuts, this recent cartoon, and countless other sources I don't even know the names of - but would be compelled to find out, if credit were in fact due. Is it?

And so on. It is possible to attribute ad absurdum. So where is credit due? It's complicated, the rules are changing, and standards are determined organically by communities, not laws. I had to edit the song for brevity, but I kind of wish I hadn't excised this line:

A citation shows us where we can get more
of all the good culture that Free Culture's for

Attribution is a way to help your neighbor. You share not only the work, but information about the work that helps them pursue their own research and maybe find more works to enjoy. How much one is expected to help their neighbor is determined by (often unspoken) community standards. People who don't help their neighbors tend to be disliked. And those who go out of their way to deceive and defraud their neighbors - i.e. plagiarists - are hated and shunned. Plagiarism doesn't affect works - works don't have feelings, and what is done to one copy has no effect on other copies. Plagiarism affects communities, and it is consideration for such that determines where attribution is appropriate.

At least that's the best I can come up with right now. Attribution is actually a very complicated concept; if you have more ideas about it, please share.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    I think you need to get out of the house more. This post reads more like the rantings of someone driving themselves mad than anything else.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 8:50am

      Re:

      Quit having fun, guy. The internets are serious business

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:53pm

      Re:

      No U

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Poker, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:17pm

      Re:

      Obviously you aren't sophisticated enough to understand how Nina clearly outlines the problem of attribution and Von Neumann's catastrophe of the infinite regress.

      She has demonstrated the logical and visible result of the absurdity of trying to monetize every single step of the creative process. Should I, writing a blues tune, give attribution to every single blues musician I have ever heard? How about rock, all based on the blues? Should I credit Gibson for the guitar, Ernie Ball for the strings, the MCI recording console, the Neve mixing board, the audience members?

      Your post, sir, reads like the grousings of an autobot programmed for Contrarianism, and I suggest you take a pill. Midol maybe.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 8:33am

    and please fix the post to close out the italics tag.

     

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    Brendan (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 8:34am

    Missing HTML tag

    Either a /i or a /quote tag is missing towards the end of this article.

    The last lines of non-quoted text are appearing italicized, along with everything else after this article on the front page.

    Just FYI.

     

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      Brendan (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 8:36am

      Re: Missing HTML tag

      Looks like the last quote itself is malformed/miscopied. It has a "

       

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        Brendan (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 8:37am

        Re: Re: Missing HTML tag

        Wow, ok, so the comment parsing system really does not like that. That sentence above should read: "It has an open carrot in it, and appears to be cut off" much like my comment itself was cut off.

         

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    Nina Paley (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    Fixed

    Formatting is fixed now, sorry everyone. The article was reformatted by someone other than me who shall remain nameless, so I'll blame him. ;-)

    Now you can all comment on the actual content of the post, rather than the annoying formatting error.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:08am

      Re: Fixed

      My comment on the post is that you don't know the difference between inspiration and duplication. It's a common problem on this site.

      I also think if you spent all this time thinking this thing into a corner, you have wasted a bunch of time trying to create an issue where one really doesn't exist.

      Tempest in a teapot, and you are the only one looking in that teapot.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:20am

        Re: Re: Fixed

        Ah someday desperate AC will gain understanding, but not today it seems.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:31am

          Re: Re: Re: Fixed

          "Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:20am
          Ah someday desperate AC will gain understanding, but not today it seems"

          This is true for yourself, anyway.

           

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            Anonymous Poker, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed

            At this point, listening to you over time, I'd like to ask exactly what your involvement or experience is in creating?
            I mean not some Photoshop touchup guy; what's your experience in these things?

            I'd like to match my observations over 22 years in the music business from retail on up through Contracts at a major studio label, along with hundreds of hours of live performance and sound mixing and reinforcement.

            I'd also throw in over 20 years of sculpture and painting gallery experience, various recording engineering credits on several singles and LPs and having a pretty good experiential overview of two major creative fields.

            If you show me your creds, maybe there'd be some basis to even listen to your pointedly-contrarianist whining. Until then... go start a 'bitch-blog'.

             

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        Jay (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:52am

        Re: Re: Fixed

        " inspiration and duplication"

        Alright, genius. What's the difference?

        Inspiration to draw an anime character for funzies could also be duplicating a copyrighted work.

        How about learning Newton's second law of motion? Did you know he was "inspired" by Galileo?

        Oh, here's another option. HTML code used on this site for a grammatical formatting error. It sure takes a lot of duplication to sit here and talk about html errors.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:06am

        Re: Re: Fixed

        you don't know the difference between inspiration and duplication. It's a common problem on this site.


        Nina has proven - many times over - that she understands the difference, whereas you have not..

        Obviously if you actually understood this difference, you would have included it in your post. The fact that you didn't proves that you are wrong and she is right.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Fixed

          Wow, I hope you weren't on your school debate team, because you would have lost every time with weak arguments like that.

          I know where Nina gets her fan club members, I guess.

           

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            Jay (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 11:20am

            *sigh*

            So instead of TAM, we now have a TAN.

            We need more sunblock on TD.

             

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            BeeAitch (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed

            "My comment on the post is that you don't know the difference between inspiration and duplication. It's a common problem on this site."

            So, you think you know how to debate. Then why do you fail to support you're argument (at all)?

            "I also think if you spent all this time thinking this thing into a corner, you have wasted a bunch of time trying to create an issue where one really doesn't exist."

            That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. Care to support it (again)?

            At least the opinions expressed by the likes of MM and Nina are supported with facts. You didn't even try.

            Fail troll fails, as always. Care to try again?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 7:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed

              They are supported with selected facts, not all of them.

              Nina is off on a jackalope hunt with this post, because it is all fairly meaningless. Deep attribution isn't a requirement, it is a nicety. Unless the source of the image requires attribute, none need be given. If you feel the urge, do it.

              What Nina tries to do is make it look like we are drowning in attribution, that there is so much required and needed. That isn't supported by all the facts, is it?

               

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:45am

        Re: Re: Fixed

        Take an art class, or an art history class. They might help you out a lot.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Fixed

          See how well you do in those classes by trying to boil everything down to being derivative.

          If that was all there was to art, then you losers would be creating something worthwhile yourselves, instead of ripping it off.

          This blog is seriously full of some of the biggest mental knuckledraggers the earth has ever known. While I'm happy that it has jumped the shark and turned itself into a well known joke- thanks to the inane rantings of its registered members and owner, it is still painfully and sadly clear that the only logic and sanity getting introduced into the conversation here is done by anonymous posters.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 3:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed

            Oh, you don't actually know what art is. And who is trying to boil everything down to being derivative? Stop putting words into the mouths of others and go take a few art lessons. Seriously, you might learn a thing or two or three.

             

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        The eejit (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re: Fixed

        My comment on the post is that you don't know the difference between inspiration and duplication. It's a common problem on this site.

        Just because someithing was duplicated, doesn't mean it wasn't also inspiring.

        Duplication: identical copy.

        Inspiration: being built on (which may include duplication).

         

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        BeeAitch (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

        Re: Re: Fixed

        "My comment on the post is that you don't know the difference between inspiration and duplication. It's a common problem on this site."

        So, you think you know how to debate. Then why do you fail to support you're argument (at all)?

        "I also think if you spent all this time thinking this thing into a corner, you have wasted a bunch of time trying to create an issue where one really doesn't exist."

        That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. Care to support it (again)?

        At least the opinions expressed by the likes of MM and Nina are supported with facts. You didn't even try.

        Fail troll fails, as always. Care to try again?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:10pm

        Re: Re: Fixed

        "Tempest in a teapot, and you are the only one looking in that teapot."

        again, No U

         

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    David Good (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:02am

    Don't forget...

    Don't forget to credit Techdirt for hosting your post, or Mike for creating Techdirt. Or wait, maybe you should credit the inventors of the Web technology. Should you credit the creator of the canvas on which the Beethoven portrait was painted? What about the instructor who taught the artist?

     

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    crade (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:02am

    "when Free Software and Open Hardware come close to doing what my old system does"
    Well, it's not going to happen with *that* attitude! :)

     

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      Nina Paley (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:06am

      Re:

      I was desperately seeking synfig help, wanting to help develop it...but there's no synfig happening in New York. I'm still eager to contribute, if there's anyone to collaborate with. Synfig as it is now is a disaster for non-coders.

       

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        Nicedoggy, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 5:29pm

        Re: Re:

        Synfig devs have a very narrow concept of what that should be, I believe you will need to fork it to transform it into something you like, I tried once and it was a bit confusing, the learning curve is steep there, that is why I find it easy to use a 3D software like Blender to do 2D stuff I just assign the drawings as texture to a plane and animate those.

        Synfing is available to Lin, Win and Mac(OSX)

        Synfig tutorials on Youtube All that I know about Synfig I got from following those tutorials.


        Also you can try:

        Animata (open source, never tested)
        Pencil (open source never tested>

         

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          Nicedoggy, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 5:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ps: Blender is also difficult to learn at the beginning but I found out that it was easier than synfig and and have more options, is like doing old style animations you set the camera, you set the lighting, you cut and paste.

           

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:07am

    Good Post

    I hadn't considered how far down the attribution rabbit-hole goes.

     

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      Meek Barbarian (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:12am

      Re: Good Post

      Damn. I knew I should have taken the blue copyrighted pill instead of that silly red public domain one. Now I'm in a world with it's own programmed rules, some that can be bent, some that can be broken, and some that have bad acting lawyers saying "I know kung fu" while distorting reality with ip based lawsuits.

       

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        Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re: Good Post

        No kidding. On one of my current projects, I accidentally used a photo licensed under CC BY-SA with another under a "no compete" license. (In the graphics market, many people make image sets that are licensed for derivative works, but don't allow others to use it in works that allow derivatives, which would effectively be competing with their own.) It was my own fault I suppose, because I didn't full understand what the share-alike license required. If I comply with the share-alike license, I would violate the no compete license, and complying with the no compete license requires violating the share-alike license. So, my only real option is to degrade my work and replace one of the two images. I've only found a replacement for the no compete image, but it's really not as good and I'll have to redo a quite a bit to incorporate it.

        The only other issue I have though is that I don't quite agree with the share-alike license. I have no problem with it, but I'm of the opinion that if others use my work and make it their own, then they should be free to use it and license it how they see fit. It just feels pretentious for me to take that right away from them.

         

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    kathrine134 (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:18am

    the point work has no feeling is denied by me , because it is feel which compel us to work , if feel is not present you cant work .life is game of feel the form of emotion

     

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    -, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:27am

    In quite a few countries (I believe entire EU and more) the concept of author's moral rights covers the right to attribution and is not time limited, so you can't take a public domain work and call your own.

     

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      Nina Paley (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:34am

      Re:

      Yeah. In the US we have no "moral rights," thank god.

      Attribution is not a "right" of authors; it's a right of the public. The public deserves to know where a work came from, within reason anyway.

       

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        Jesse (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:00am

        Re: Re:

        In that way, one could almost argue that attribution is more like trademark law than copyright law, in that it is [intended as] a consumer protection to prevent against fraud.

        Interesting take.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re:

        Well, there is the Visual Artists Rights Act, which is sort of a watered-down U.S. version of moral rights for certain types of works.

         

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        dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 1:56pm

        Re: Re:

        It's also a necessity within scholarship--to at least attempt to ensure that work being submitted is that of the submittor. Without it, no crime may exist, but false accreditation (diplomas, degrees, licenses) may result--undoubtedly a public wrong.

         

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    Huph, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Well, I think that it's proper to credit those who had a hand in creating the specific work. So, definitely credit the sound designer, but no need to credit the company that produced the sound library the designer used. Musical attributions aren't required, usually those are only listed at the end of a film because the terms of the license force as much. But rarely is the actual film score (not soundtrack) ever attributed; maybe the composer will be mentioned, but even that's not the case with every film.

    On the other hand, if it really means so much to you to credit every single molecule you've inhaled and every blade of grass you've ever stepped on, you could always write an overly pedantic blog post that fully attributes every waking second of your life that led to this moment. A lot of art is pointless that way.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    No right to attribution

    Giving credit is good. Giving credit credits the creditor as well as the credited. However, credit remains a mark of respect. We must be wary not to slip into the idea (inculcated by CC) that it should be a legal requirement to give credit, for then credit ceases to be a mark of respect (it also soon becomes burdensome to attach provenance and cross-fertilisation ‘credits’ to a work).

    The natural right is to truth, not to attribution, thus a right to accuracy in attribution, but not a right to be attributed. Thus there is a right against misattribution, which includes the circumstance where misattribution occurs by implication, e.g. through omission and context. A gallery of my unattributed drawings in which one was drawn by someone else, may imply my authorship. The remedy is clarification, e.g. “Not all by me” or attribution “This one by Fred”.

    As long as they remain honest and truthful, it is up to the individual whether they give credit – where and when they feel it is necessary and appropriate.

    Lastly, as you observe, it is copyright that disincentivises attribution because of the FUD and ever increasing jeopardy for admitting uncleared/unlicensed works as inspiration or source material. Without copyright, people can once again take pride in building upon published works and crediting those they feel should be credited, without the copyright inculcated stigma and risk against it.

    One day people will once again no longer ask permission to build upon other artists’ work, and no longer fear to admit they were inspired by others’ works, or that they incorporated any in theirs.

     

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    Brian Schroth (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:54am

    Nina, great post. How about this for a video? Make a 2 second clip of a character saying something like "Plagiarism stinks!". Then have the rest of the video be thousands of lines of credits. I think that could be a humorous and thought-provoking way to get out the basic point of this blog post.

     

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    Jesse (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:56am

    Self-plagiarism

    Will you do a comic on so-called "self-plagiarism?" I sit through university propaganda sessions on plagiarism and copyright all the time, and the whole "self-plagiarism" gets to me.

    So I can't use a paper from one class in another class because I can't get credit for the same work twice? But you're the ones that made two courses so similar that the same paper could reasonably be submitted. Furthermore, professors reuse lecture notes/slides/tests year after year, and I'm pretty sure they get paid each time they use them.

     

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      dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

      Re: Self-plagiarism

      If you'd stop failing that class you wouldn't have to ask this question.

      Seriously, though, think about it: you're asking for MORE credits in exchange for taking that second (third, fourth) class, right? So doesn't it make sense that you have to do MORE work to get those credits? Professors only rarely assign papers for their own reading pleasure--it's to get you to work for credits (and show your proficiency in a particular area). If you want to rehash portions of your previous scholarship, that's not verboten--but don't expect something for nothing in academia...despite what you said about professors re-using lesson plans and materials year after year. They're only there for the money.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    "Legally, you can take Ludwig van Beethoven's songs, Jane Austen's novels, or Eadweard Muybridge's photographs and put any name you want on them. Go ahead! You're at no risk of legal action."

    Um...just thought I'd pipe in here and say that (a) you shouldn't actually do that, (b) you may be at risk for legal action if you do that, depending on what you do with the mislabeled works, and (c) it's a pretty bad idea to tell people to do something and that there will be no legal consequences, if you don't really know that much about the law.

     

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      Jesse (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      What legal consequences are there to re-labeling public domain works?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:06am

        Re: Re:

        Potential violation of Federal Trade Commission regulations and potential unfair competition/"passing off" claims, to start.

        Of course, it depends on what you do with the work. If you slap your own name on some Beathoven sheet music and stick it in your drawer, that's probably not a violation of any law.

        If you sell copies, for example, as your original work, you may be in violation of several laws. Basically, there are lots of state and federal laws prohibiting deceptive commercial activities of all sorts, as well as claims your competitors can bring against you.

        It has nothing to do with copyright, and everytying to do with deception/public confusion.

         

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          Jesse (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So more like false advertising. I could see that happening. I wouldn't be surprised anyway.

           

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          Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I believe that it is also against copyright to claim your own copyright on public domain work. For instance, you couldn't simply take 20 lines from a Beathoven symphony and rubberstamp your own copyright claim on it.

           

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            Paul (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 11:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I don't think the penalties are too great though. Otherwise, Warner Music Group wouldn't be so bold as to claim copyright on the Happy Birthday song, which brings in an estimated 2 million a year on average, largely from licensing to film, TV, and radio due to its central cultural use in almost any birthday setting.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Birthday_to_You

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 11:16am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              What's your reasoning as to why their claim is false?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 11:18am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Nevermind. That ought to teach me to comment before reading links.

                 

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                  Paul (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Well, Just to make it easier for others...

                  The music was written by Patty and Mildred J. Hill. The song was "Good Morning to All" and was first published in 1893, in "Song Stories for the Kindergarten".

                  Very rapidly, other words were applied by many others, as the tune was very catchy. One of the most popular (but far from singular) variations was the "Happy Birthday" words we are all familiar with. The "Happy Birthday" words were published several times with the tune in the following years (in 1918, 1924, and 1933, all without copyright notices).

                  In 1935 "Happy Birthday to You" was published with a copyright attributed to Preston Ware Orem. This version is identical to those published in 1918, 1924, and 1933 with the exception of the split note for the extra symbol in "Happy Birthday" vs "Good Morning", and the added copyright.

                  Most likely, the 1935 copyright is invalid, for the Hill sisters had copyrighted "Good Morning to all" in 1909, and that copyright was still in effect.

                  There have been lawsuits over the song through the years. But getting into them here would be tedious at best.

                  Hope this helps!

                   

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                    Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Still not the same point, as I was referring to works already in the public domain.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 1:53pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      His point is that Happy Birthday (in its entirety; music and lyrics) is in the public domain, yet Warner claims a copyright on it.

                       

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                        Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:14pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        From the same wikipedia page:
                        "...while in the United States, the song is currently set to pass in to the public domain in 2030."

                        Yes, it should be in the public domain, but yet it isn't, and won't be unless someone gets the current copyright revoked. There definitely seems to be legal grounds for it too, but they are certainly going to fight to the bitter end over that $2 million/year in royalties that they did absolutely nothing to deserve.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 3:22pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          That's not entirely accurate.

                          It is disputed whether it is or is not in the public domain. Warner claims it is not in the public domain. Others claim that it is. Whether it is or is not does not hinge on the existence of a copyright registration.

                          So, as a matter of facts and law, Happy Birthday may be in the public domain.

                           

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                            Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Sorry, perhaps I should have said "Yes, it should be in the public domain, but yet it effectively is not, and won't be unless someone gets a court order saying that Time Warner's copyright claim is invalid," because that's what it's going to take to stop them from extorting $2 million every year.

                             

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              Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You don't see the difference between writing new lyrics for an old song and making an outright copy without contributing any work of your own?

               

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                BeeAitch (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Um, writing new lyrics would be contributing work of your own, n'est-ce pas?

                 

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                  identicon
                  Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:23pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Yes, writing new lyrics would be contributing your own work, doing nothing but writing your copyright claim on a public domain work isn't.

                   

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          Nina Paley (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 1:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It has nothing to do with copyright, and everytying to do with deception/public confusion.

          That is very good to know! I'd like to know more about such anti-deception laws.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, you can bring a false advertising claim under the Lanham Act (I think you have to be a competitor), and both the FTC and various state regulatory authorities have lots of regulations regarding deceptive advertising as well. It would be hard to catalog all that might apply.

             

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              Nina Paley (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Is claiming you wrote something advertising?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 3:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                That depends.

                As I stated in my earlier post, if you slap your name on a PD work and stick it in your drawer, you're probably fine. If a tree says something misleading in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, it's probably not going to result in a lawsuit.

                If you offer the work for sale as your original work, you could be in trouble.

                 

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      Nina Paley (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 1:15pm

      Re:

      (a) you shouldn't actually do that, (b) you may be at risk for legal action if you do that, depending on what you do with the mislabeled works, and (c) it's a pretty bad idea to tell people to do something and that there will be no legal consequences, if you don't really know that much about the law.

      (a) I totally agree, you shouldn't do that.
      (b) I would like to know more about these legal consequences. What would happen if I claimed I wrote Hamlet - didn't assert copyright (copyfraud) on it, just claimed I wrote it?
      (c) You are correct! I think we agree that copyright law wouldn't govern any consequences - I should have clarified that.

       

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        Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:28pm

        Re: Re:

        I might be wrong, but I think that simply claiming you wrote it also means the "automatic" copyright would apply, unless you specifically revoke any copyright claims.

         

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      Anonymous Musician, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:34pm

      Re:

      Or you could just do them like The Portsmouth Sinfonia. No one would ever confuse those versions with any other orchestra's :D

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:02am

    right at the end i was hoping A Fifth Of Beethoven by walter murphy and the big apple band was going to kick in :(

    :D

     

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    Brendan (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:08am

    music in tv commercials

    I really appreciate the way some tv commercials now include a music credit at the beginning and/or end of their spots. It really is the simplest solution to the problem of people trying to figure out what an unknown track is.

    Plus, the band in question gets better exposure, for which they might be willing to lower therice of the licensed use.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:26am

      Re: music in tv commercials

      I admit I try to avoid commercials in general so I haven't made the observation you have, but I've often wondered why many don't include a musical credit, or why that isn't included as a requirement! Anything to get your music out there but no easy way to find it? Seems silly.

      I've actually had to google a few tunes used in ads to find the identity of the musical artists so I can buy a copy.

       

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    Paul, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Common sense

    To be very pragmatic, in academia, many style manuals (APA, MLA, etc) are explicit about how to attribute works and give credit where credit is due, and to what extent.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    By golly: I have to answer the /question/ as YES.

    Because voluntary attribution just isn't enough to stop various kinds of /actual/ thieves.

    You're really only making a case that computers currently enable the better detection of plagiarism, and that plays into the hands of the "copyright maximalists"!

    I'm not a "copyright maximalist" nor for tossing it entirely. As I've said several times here, I'm firmly against the present unilateral increase of terms and "authority" by the industry, but I regard copyright as /previously/ being about right -- a Constitutional "for a limited time".

    Attribution is usually impractical. I specifically do /not/ want it on "small" items because distracts from whatever esthetic value. Nor do I want to be directed to commercial interests. -- Probably Art should be kept away from /money/ but that is a whole 'nother can of worms.

     

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      Nina Paley (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:57am

      Re: By golly: I have to answer the /question/ as YES.

      Probably Art should be kept away from /money/

      Art should be kept away from Law.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        -, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 11:44am

        Re: Re: By golly: I have to answer the /question/ as YES.

        So true...

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 11:59am

          Re: Re: Re: By golly: I have to answer the /question/ as YES.

          Artists are told they should learn more about intellectual property law but intellectual property lawyers are never told to learn more art. Shame, really.

           

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            Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: By golly: I have to answer the /question/ as YES.

            In my experience, ignorance fueled hysteria of artist over IP rights is just as detrimental to the current state of things as the media corps.

             

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              Ed C., Jun 28th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: By golly: I have to answer the /question/ as YES.

              And that lawyers don't help either, they get more billable hours by fueling the flames...

               

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            darryl, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 8:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: By golly: I have to answer the /question/ as YES.

            say's who ? you ???

            Most IP lawyers who are of any use hold dual degrees in law and engineering.

            or law and an arts degree, specifically for that reason, Let me guess you are neither an Artist, or a creator of IP or a laywer? im I right :)... of course I am..

            You see Mike wanted to be an 'artist', and he could not 'cut it', then he wanted to be a laywer but again, could not 'cut it'. So now he has found his rut, and is NEITHER !

            Really, the fact is if you have no intellect you have no intellectual property.

            You're only available option is to use the intellect of others.

            Every is told to learn about the law!!! not just laywers or police, dont you know about the law ?

            So you can NOT be a laywer and not be an artist or an engineer and therefore you do not have to know what laws you are supposed to obey?

            Really ???? Let me guess Mr AC you are from the US ??

             

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              identicon
              dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: By golly: I have to answer the /question/ as YES.

              This is, I think, the worst post I've seen yet. And that's taking into account a lot of posts. First of all, I'm an IP lawyer. Second, I'm a visual artist, curator and former gallery director. Third, I know many IP lawyers who are not, themselves, artists or inventors, yet do a great deal of good, creative work for both groups. I also know many who make careers limiting what good, creative work can be made under the existing law. I know a lot of artists who are good business-people, and I know a lot more who aren't good at that stuff.

              What I'm getting at is that your generalities are utter shite. Plus, you're functionally illiterate.

               

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Copyright and plagiarism are different animals. If a work is in the public domain (or if copyright didn't exist) it would still be plagiarism to copy that work and misrepresent it as one's own work.

     

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    Gracey (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 11:59am

    [Is copyright needed to stop plagiarism?]

    Um, no...does copyright stop plagiarism now?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    I always thought it would be funny to have a time machine and go back in time and put my name on Shakespeare's plays. Then return to the present day and see schoolkids studying plays like "Romeo & Juliet" and "Julius Caesar" written by me. LOL!

     

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    Prashanth (profile), Jun 28th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    Black box

    I'm not a serious content creator, by any means, so I'm not an expert at all on this. That said, I may have an idea regarding where to draw the line between appropriate attribution and attribution ad absurdum:
    Treat every clip, work, or sample like a "black box". Attribute that sample to the foremost person (or, as in many cases, people) responsible for its existence. If it's something like a particular recording of a Beethoven symphony, attribute the conductor of that orchestra featured in that recording. That should be sufficient, because implicit in that attribution are the names of the other people involved in the work's existence; if someone was curious enough to further investigate, those people's names would show up in the credits for that particular work. So to summarize, attribute the one or two foremost people responsible for the "black box".
    Oh, and I really liked the video! :D

     

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    darryl, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 7:56am

    To Nina

    Nina, you really need to stick to what you are good at, whatever that is?

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Jose_X, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:02pm

      Re: To Nina

      She does a _very_ good job drawing in copyright supporters who don't have very much to say in defense of copyright.

       

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    Jose_X, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    Great job on making important distinction to help knock down obstacle to getting more authors on board supporting free content

    I, my dog, and the rest of the world perhaps, find it extremely difficult to give credit to everyone. This dependency on society is one great reason NOT to give 70+ year monopoly to any ONE.

    An "extensive" list of credit can be a part of every project. For example, in many open source projects, eg, managed with version control like "git", this already exists, as each precise change is attributable to an author.

    We can formalize this mechanism into an XML standard. The XML element entry for an author can have all sorts of things like a link to the home page, to a p2p download, to reviews, background, etc, to a store front (to monetize the work), to date created, date xxxx, and many more things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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