C&D Squashes Seuss-Style Satire: Where Did The Idea/Expression Dichotomy Go?

from the blue-eggs-and-spam dept

One aspect of fair use that often confuses people is the distinction between parody (which is well-established as fair use in many circumstances) and satire (which is not). The basic distinction is that a parody that makes use of a copyrighted work is doing so to comment on that work, while satire that makes use of a copyrighted work is doing so to comment on something else. The legal reasoning is that in the former situation, use of the work is necessary because it is intrinsic to the commentary, but in the latter situation it is unnecessary because the same commentary could be made in another way.

Unfortunately, the distinction is not always so clear. Illustrator Danny Hellman recently discovered this after completing a series of illustrations in the style of Dr. Seuss for a book about declining job prospects for recent graduates, itself written in the Seussian style (and presumably inspired by the tradition of reciting Seuss' Oh, The Places You'll Go! at graduation ceremonies).

A few months into the project, (after I’d turned in about half of the book’s 80 or so illos) the publisher sent promo materials for the book out to retailers. Apparently, some wicked, Grinch-like person felt compelled to pass these materials along to attorneys who work for the Ted Geisel [Dr. Seuss] estate, at which point this flock of legal carrion birds descended on my publisher much as the Onceler clan does on a newly-discovered forest of virgin Truffula trees.

Okay, enough of the Seuss metaphors. Suffice to say that my publisher was hit with a Cease & Desist letter, and the project was killed, in spite of our well-established First Amendment right to commit parody.

While I'm sure that the estate would have sent a C&D no matter what, in this case the parody defence is likely not as strong as Hellman assumes, because the book was not commenting on Seuss and his work, but rather on an unrelated topic, making it more satire than parody. There's also the possibility that trademarks are involved, which would be a different story, but without actually seeing the C&D it's hard to say. Assuming, as Hellman suggests, copyright is indeed the core issue, this situation is comes down to an even more fundamental question: can an artist's "style" be protected by copyright? Let's take a look at one of the images in question:

Yes, it is distinctly Seussian, but it does not replicate or make use of any of Seuss' actual work. This is an example of the failure of the idea/expression dichotomy that is supposed to be central to copyright law. In theory, ideas are not covered by copyright, only the fixed expression of those ideas, but while some argue that the distinction is clear and obvious, the fact is that's rarely the case. An artist's signature style is, in one sense, a part of the specific expression, but in another sense it is a collection of artistic ideas that dictate expression. If style can be protected, it creates a problematic double standard: could someone, for example, get away with reproducing a Seuss book in full using a different style of art and writing? Unlikely. But if they also can't tell a different story using the Seussian style then... suddenly there is no "idea" side of the dichotomy at all.

The real issue is that it's highly subjective, creating situations where judges must play art critic to determine if something is infringing. So a book like this can easily be killed by a C&D, since the publisher isn't going to risk a lawsuit when they have no clear standard telling them if the work is infringing. That creates a massive chilling effect on art, and gives rightsholders too much power to squash anything they don't like, with or without a firm legal basis.

Lack of clarity on key concepts like parody/satire and idea/expression is one of the biggest problems with copyright law today. When artists have no way of knowing whether something is infringing, it limits their creativity, and everyone is worse off. A firm, clear definition of the idea/expression dichotomy (and one that errs on the idea side, as was always the intent, since fair use is supposed to be what stops copyright from violating freedom of speech) would go a long way towards fixing a broken law.



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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:14am

    All he has to do is wait until, what, 2061? And then he can publish a book about unemployment circa 2012. Makes perfect sense to me.

     

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    John Doe, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:20am

    This case should even be a case

    Copyright shouldn't extend past the authors death so there shouldn't even be a case here in the first place.

     

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  3.  
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    Chris ODonnell (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:23am

    Is that you Jar Jar?

    I think the 2nd thing in line looks more like a parody Jar Jar Binks than a Seuss character. Cue C&D letter from George Lucas...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:24am

    Re: This case should even be a case

    But then people will be murdering artists left and right to get at that sweet, sweet, precious art.

     

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    John Doe, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    Oh the unintended consequences.

     

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    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:34am

    Interesting...

    I did not know about those subtle nuances between parody and satire in copyright exceptions. I dare say that the Seuss estate has opened itself up to a world of legitimate parody works by protesting the use of an artistic style this satire though.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:35am

    Oh Noes!!1!

    Does the mean the Seussian Call of Cthulhu book will also be illegal??

     

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  8.  
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    Bob, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:35am

    You see Seuss, I see Star Wars

    There's Shmi Skywalker serving up the soup, a hungry Qui-Gon Jinn at the head of the line, a starved to the bones Chewbacca behind him, a ragged Grand Moff Tarkin, and bringing up the rear is well, one of the background characters who's just a little worse for wear.

     

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:35am

    Seuss has been down this road before ...

    Almost this exact case was used for the "fair use" discussions in a copyright survey course I took maybe 12 years ago.

    Seuss & Co. got themselves a court ruling that said emulating the style of Seuss without parody of an actual work was infringement. So it was not likely just a C&D, but a C&D with case citations to the time long ago that they won on this issue. Hence the quick fold by the publisher.

     

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:41am

    Re: Seuss has been down this road before ...

    Perhaps this story should have been posted from the run-it-by-counsel-before-diving-headlong-into-illustration dept.

     

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    Fin, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:45am

    Grrrrrr

    Storys like this are disheartening. I'm currently working on a Windows Phone 7 game, totally non intrusive ad supported and free and a pay whatever you think its worth option plugged in (as thats how i view media now) and its based on the retro world, with blocks for characters. It was inspired by Adventure from Atari.

    The original build was going to clone the game, but apparently atari hate that and issue legal proceedings like most, even though they don't have a version on this platform. So i have rewritten everything. But as its the retro style the graphics are all blocks, so does the fact i have a castle made of blocks (Adventure / Atari esq but def. not the same) mean i am on shakey ground.

    Even though all art and sound is original, the story has been re-written so its nothing like advenutre and the adventurer, castles, keys, swords and other evil monster genre predates video games by hundreds of years, i am still hesitant...which is just wrong

     

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  12.  
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    Hulser (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Re: This case should even be a case

    Copyright shouldn't extend past the authors death

    I actually think that the copyright term should ignore completely whether the artist is alive or dead. The determination of how long the copyright term is should balance how much of an incentive it is for the artist versus the overall benefit to the public. How does whether the artist is alive logically play into this calculation?

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:51am

    And because it's a satire, not a parody it's ok to sue. I know you didn't say that Mike but this is exactly the type of thing that makes me think a good lawyer is a dead lawyer.

    Put aside the fact that the author is dead and some lazy inheritors are the ones that are actually gonna benefit, we are talking about a brand new work that uses parts of an existing works but it's being killed because of imaginary rights granted by Governments. If you consider such rights were first aimed at PROMOTING CREATIVITY AND ACTING AS INCENTIVE FOR FURTHER CREATIONS then it seems to me that these imaginary rights already failed miserably and should be either reviewed or abolished.

    But never mind me.

     

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    Nathan F (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:52am

    So.. if I happened to have a talent for painting or drawing, I could be in trouble for doing a drawing in the same style as say.. Salvador Dali or Monet or any other modern era artist?

     

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    John Doe, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    How does whether the artist is alive logically play into this calculation?

    Because copyright is suppose to be an incentive to create. Dead people only create fertilizer.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    No people would like the artist creating more work.
    And not even the publishers et al. Would gain anything from their. Dead (but if they found a way...)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:57am

    According to Wikipedia...

    "A parody (play /ˈpærədi/; also called pastiche, spoof, send-up or lampoon), in current use, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation."

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

    Parody is NOT limited to the original work. However I do agree with the rest of his analysis of the case.

    Regardless, lawyers send threatening C&D letters all the time that aren't based on any solid legal standing because 1. it doesn't cost anything to do it and 2. often times the scare tactic works because people don't know their rights or simply want to avoid ANY kind of legal entanglement.

     

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    A Dan (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    If copyright were limited to the life of the author, then the author would have declining incentives as he/she grew older. An 80-year-old would likely have no publisher willing to buy his book, since they would have far less time to exploit it (prior to public domain) than a 30-year-old author's book. This is avoided with fixed lengths. It also removes the incentive to kill authors so you can use their work.

     

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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    Re: According to Wikipedia...

    Two things:

    1) The dictionary definition is not the same as the legal definition
    2) I still think you're reading that wrong - the "some other target" part means a parody can be of something other than a work/style/author, however the target (whatever it may be) is still what's being imitated

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Re: >:D

    Not at all!

    There's excellent money to be made. I hear the market for convincing counterfeits of classic artists is pretty booming, they've even got some on display at the Louvre.

    Or, if you're of a less criminal persuasion, there's a pretty legit market for replicas--but the money's not as good.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    "It also removes the incentive to kill authors so you can use their work."

    Yes, a smart pirate would totally commit the crime of murder just so he could avoid a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

    Are you totally mad?

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    "And not even the publishers et al. Would gain anything from their. Dead (but if they found a way...)"

    Sure they would, then they don't have to pay the artist royalties.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    Eh? The penalties for murder are like 80% less than the penalties for criminal copyright infringement.

    So, less mad, more pragmatic.

    ;-P

     

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  24.  
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    non-anonymous coward (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    But now you force this kind of evil-doer to murder all of the heirs, so that there is no one to left with standing for the lawsuit.

    Think of the children.

     

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  25.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Seuss has been down this road before ...

    Seuss & Co. got themselves a court ruling that said emulating the style of Seuss without parody of an actual work was infringement
    Which is just insane from a "copyright is there to encourage creation" viewpoint. To copyright a STYLE of drawing would be like copyrighting the Blues "style" of music.

     

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  26.  
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    Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    I have to agree with Hulser... Copyright should be based on a specific timeframe and the creator's living/dead status should be irrelevant. If I create the greatest work of art known to mankind today and drop dead tomorrow, there is no reason that my family shouldn't profit from that creation for a reasonable period of time, just as I would have provided for them off the work if I had remained among the living.

     

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    hegemon13, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    He's not talking about copying, replicating, or counterfeiting, and you know it. He asked whether he could do his own work in the same style.

    If the answer is no, our copyright system is even more broken than I imagined. Where, exactly, can we draw the line? Is writing gruesome horror using pop, straightforward language with everyman characters infringing on Stephen King?

     

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  28.  
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    Xenophorge (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    I do not satire on a boat
    I do not satire with a goat

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    This is pitiful. Dr. Seuss has been dead for 20 years.

     

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  30.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    Re:

    I think the reason satire is not allowed is because it would be interpreted by many people as an endorsement of the satirist's message by the original author.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: According to Wikipedia...

    Whether or not the legal definition matches it appears that the fair use law is written such that it has to be a parody of the original work...

    The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

    so it appears that the end result as it applies to copyright law is the same regardless.

     

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  32.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re:

    I think the reason satire is not allowed is because it would be interpreted by many people as an endorsement of the satirist's message by the original author.

    The reason is more to do with free speech, and the fact that copying is "necessary" for one but not the other.

    So for example, if you want to criticize Dr. Seuss' litigious estate by parodying "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", your use of Seuss' work is intrinsic to your commentary - thus, the courts reason, to deny you the ability to use Seuss' work for a parody would be to deny you your protected free speech. So parody becomes a form of fair use - since fair use is (in theory) how you "fix" situations where copyright law infringes on free speech.

    If, on the other hand, you want to criticize someone else, let's say the RIAA, by writing a version of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", then it's no longer a parody because (at least legally speaking) a parody exists to mock/criticize/comment on the thing it is parodying. The use of the Seuss story is not intrinsic to your criticism of the RIAA. Thus, the courts reason, that denying you the right to use Seuss' work does not actually limit your free speech - and thus they grant no fair use exception to copyright law in that situation.

     

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  33.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: According to Wikipedia...

    Er... yeah... that was my point from the start! Perhaps I misread your initial comment, but you said:

    Parody is NOT limited to the original work.

    Now you're saying it is... which is what I'm saying :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:38pm

    Re:

    But you have to "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" harmed by this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    I think without context, it is hard to judge anything from just a single image.

    Was there words?

    I am sam, sam I am. I am a hobo, that is no hoho.

    Parody is a nice thing, but generally you have to be making a parody of the original, and not just using the original to make points.

    let me quote:

    a series of illustrations in the style of Dr. Seuss for a book about declining job prospects for recent graduates

    Clearly, this isn't to parody a Seuss book, but rather to make political points. It's not a parody by any term I can think of.

     

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  36.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    Oh, The People You Will Sue

    Oh, The People You Will Sue

    Congratulations!
    From here you'll go far.
    After trials and tribulations
    You've finally passed the Bar.

    You spent years in Law School
    Listening to every Law Scholar
    You are not anyone's fool
    You are now an IP Lawyer

    Everything is new, it's a brand new day
    Then reality hits and you start to moan
    You have to figure out a way
    To repay all those student loans

    You fire up your 'puter and look around
    You see gatekeepers who need savin'
    Against the evil pirates who abound
    And think to yourself. I'll be the next Righthaven!

    Oh, The People You Will Sue

    As the plan forms in your mind
    You'll sue mothers and printers
    You'll sue anyone you can find
    You'll leave the net in splinters

    You'll sue anyone who utters "Fair Use!"
    and companies who use Safe Harbors
    'cause in your mind that's all just abuse
    And that's just for starters

    Oh, The People You Will Sue

    With patents and trademark abuses
    You'll sue anyone who innovates
    Or dares to produce something with uses
    And every single company who creates

    You'll file class action suits
    For artists against labels, it's true
    You'll work hard on these pursuits
    Because no one gets the money, well, except you.

    You've become an IP Lawyer
    You knew what you were doing
    There's infringers out there
    So...get suing!

     

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  37.  
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    Greevar (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:45pm

    What a shame.

    I tried to make an illustrated book.
    But then the lawyers called me a crook.
    I did not, will not, copy Seuss.
    I would not, could not with a goose.
    It's too bad it wasn't made.
    It's good, at least, that I got paid.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    Not really. For the reasons Leigh explained the C&D appears to have no actual legal standing. He said that his publisher killed the project after getting the C&D letter which is just that A LETTER - a bunch of wind from an attorney threatening to take legal action if demands aren't met. And apparently his publisher decided he didn't want to fight it. Had he stood firm and it gone to court it might have actually had been a demonstration of the law but it was just a really use of a scare tactic.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: According to Wikipedia...

    My initial comment was that from looking at their definition it didn't appear to be as you defined as you had. But when I went looking for the text of the law so I could see if they included a legal definition for it and I found that which means my original point was moot with the law written that way.

     

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  40.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re:

    Sorry, all I can think of is the $680+ million the movie studios have cashed in on a dead man.

    That's what copyright extensions are all about - making sure those with a lot of money don't have to compete with others over the same material.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    I do not like cease and desist, IP maximist.

    I can not, will not, make this book.
    I should not, will not, be called a crook.
    I did not, will not, copy Seuss.
    I would not, could not with fair use.
    I do not like cease and desist.
    I do not like it IP maximist.

     

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  42.  
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    Greevar (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:54pm

    Re: What a shame.

    I confused submit with preview.
    Now there is nothing I can do.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Re:

    The main focus of the article though was even if it doesn't fit the legal definition of the use of parody described in the fair use law, copying a style does not constitute infringement because the style is an IDEA and ideas are not covered under copyright. IF he used a character or a specific line or something else directly from one of the books then yes it would be infringement. However if he merely uses illustrations that mimic the illustrations and use phrasing that mimics the literary style then those are fine.

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    They practically don't, anyways. =]

     

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  45.  
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    Atkray (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Grrrrrr

    See this is a perfect example of how the copyright system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do by giving you an incentive to create... er .... well ....

    But Piracy!

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    "If copyright were limited to the life of the author, then the author would have declining incentives as he/she grew older."

    You say this as if it's not equally true no matter how long copyright terms are...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:49pm

    Re: I do not like cease and desist, IP maximist.

    There you go... that's the one I was waiting for.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    You forget. Artists don't usually abuse copyright. It's the greedy gatekeeper leeches that are the ones that you have to kill.

     

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  49.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:55pm

    Re:

    Parody is a nice thing, but generally you have to be making a parody of the original, and not just using the original to make points. ... Clearly, this isn't to parody a Seuss book, but rather to make political points. It's not a parody by any term I can think of.

    Wow that's such an important point I wish I'd dedicated the whole first half of the post to making it.

    Oh wait...

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    more suess-like

    so basically, if I'm understanding this correctly, what the artist needs to do in this example is to use actual Suess characters (putting them in the unemployement line or causing their unemployement as an example) to make a commentary, i.e. parody and a statement on Dr. Suess's heirs.

    That could be done now. Just include the C&D letter with the book and change the characters...

     

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    Yartrebo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    Well, the criminal punishment is pretty similar (~10 years either way), and the civil penalties are lighter for murder (actual damages, perhaps trebled, vs $500,000 statutory)

     

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  52.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Re:

    I read the post as saying SATIRE isn't protected while parody is. In other words you can't use Dr Seuss like characters in a satire even if the characters aren't borrowed from Dr Seuss and that the illustrations clearly aren't his but someone else's borrowing the style.

    And most satirical work is heavily political in one form or another.

    I'd have to see more of the work to but, on the surface, it's sad that it came to an end with a C&D request/order.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 4:59pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, Marcus, yet you clearly don't seem to understand because you think the law is broken. I looked at it in seconds and saw satire and not parody, the law isn't broken - just your way of looking at it.

    It's as clear as your lack of rapping talent.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    Keep in mind that some big studio could possibly order a hitman to kill a popular author (for instance J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer) to put their work in the public domain. The studio could then make movies off the work without paying for it, which wouldn't be completely unthinkable for big franchises like Harry Potter or Twilight.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How's your trolling career coming along?

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 6:57pm

    Re: more suess-like

    Yes. The point is he would have to be making a parody of Dr Seuss, and not a satire type commentary on some non-related topic.

    It's why so many pr0n companies can get away with parody sex tapes, because they are in fact parodies.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just because satire isn't protected as fair use doesn't mean mimicking a STYLE constitutes a USE that is covered by copyright. This is the entire point of the second half of the article.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Where did he ever say anything about the law being broken? He was stating that the C&D was an empty threat with no legal basis but not for the reason the AUTHOR thought.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:09pm

    Re: Re: more suess-like

    No he wouldn't if he's just mimicking Seuss's STYLE. There are two parts to the article. No it's not parody but it isn't infringement either. C&D is an empty threat.

     

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  60.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I looked at it in seconds and saw satire and not parody

    Yeah - like I said in the post. Several times. I think you better read it again TAM. You're in so much of a rush to find something to criticize me on that you just make yourself look like a jackass.

    Here, let me help you, since you're clearly quite slow:

    in this case the parody defence is likely not as strong as Hellman assumes, because the book was not commenting on Seuss and his work, but rather on an unrelated topic, making it more satire than parody.

    First paragraph after the quote (that's the indented thing in italics, in case you aren't clear on that either)

     

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  61.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:13pm

    Re: Re: more suess-like

    It's why so many pr0n companies can get away with parody sex tapes, because they are in fact parodies.

    Ah, finally we get to TAM's true expertise - the porn industry. How's the new cam site going?

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: more suess-like

    I think it's going brilliant - what with the John Steeles, Evan Stones, Andrew Crossleys and other copyright scammers saturating the place. He'll be able to send everyone on the planet a settlement letter.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Grrrrrr

    And this is a prime example of why copyright is messed up. Thanks to greedy corporations sitting on their 30-year-old copyrights (which they aren't even using anymore, but continue to sue into the ground anyone who dares to "infringe"), the world has just lost what could have been an awesome game.

    Does Atari (or whoever owns the rights now) have any plans to market something based on Adventure or other classic games in the near future? If not, then cloning the game does not hurt them in any way, so they have no reason to go after you. There's no excuse.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:57pm

    the Ted Geisel [Dr. Seuss] estate

    Forget the whole parody/satire/fair use thing, this is what makes me mad. People thinking that they're entitled to profit from the works of other people, ancestors or not. People thinking they can sit on copyrights they aren't using on the market. But that's exactly what our messed-up laws allow to happen, by making copyrights transferable, unconditional, and valid for 70 years after the author is dead and can't exploit it any more.

    I think copyright should be subject to a "use it or lose it" rule like trademarks. Copyright is supposed to be an incentive to create. Fine then, if you want your copyright, you have to actively use it. No, enforcing is not the same as using.

     

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  65. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    First off, I don't know who TAM is. So trying to guess an anonymous is a failure. Don't you feel like a jackass now?

    "First paragraph after the quote (that's the indented thing in italics, in case you aren't clear on that either)"

    Yes, yet you rattle on like there is some other justification for this stuff, and there just is not. One look at the picture tells me what "universe" the characters come from, and I feel right away that it might be official Seuss material. That's where it ends, because there is enough potential confusion.

    You just don't get it, do you? It's satire, not parody, and it's misappropriation of the character set used for MANY Seuss books. It's not something you can win either way.

    Why make a big long post about something that is quite so obviously against the law?

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Marcus why are you trying to show something for a moron in a hurry he is obviously in a hurry to flame you so he still didn't see the part where you explained the difference of parody and satire.

     

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  67.  
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    Dr Evil, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:54pm

    I'm confused

    in this post-Righthaven era, I still thought it would have been more appropriate for the lawyers to demand some sort of payment FIRST, you know, so we won't sue you. The publisher was gutless, and should find a new line of work.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Forget the parody/satire question for a minute because in this case THAT DOESN'T MATTER. Answer this question. From what SPECIFIC work or works the "Seuss universe" do the characters come? The answer: NONE. The only reason the satire/parody question is even mentioned is that the author mistakenly thought it was fair use when it wasn't. But it still isn't infringement under copyright law.

     

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  69. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 5:23am

    Re: Re: Re: more suess-like

    Again, who the hell is TAM?

    Marcus, you need to grow up child. You are a skinny ass white boy with few real talents except the ability to bitch. You have proven you have no talent, no skill for market, and no abilities to produce logic beyond eating the yule logs that Mike dumps on your face and recycle them.

    So, if you want to play games, just remember: I am posting as an anonymous poster, and that is all you need to know. Trying to guess who I am (and failing I might add) sort of proves the point. You are a hopeless tard, and a narrow minded technology bigot on top of it.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 6:32am

    Re: Seuss has been down this road before ...

    "Seuss & Co. got themselves a court ruling that said emulating the style of Seuss without parody of an actual work was infringement. So it was not likely just a C&D, but a C&D with case citations to the time long ago that they won on this issue. Hence the quick fold by the publisher."

    Link please.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 6:44am

    Re:

    I think copyright should be subject to a "use it or lose it"

    This reminds me of a suggestion I made in a comment on a different article a while back on patents. I think we need to apply the concept of adverse possession from physical property law to patents where someone who wants to produce a product but can't because someone else is just sitting on a patent without producing anything with it can challenge the ownership of the patent and be granted ownership of it. Not sure whether I agree with the concept being applied to copyright but it would certainly be an interesting concept to explore.

     

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  72.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow - how is it that you still haven't bothered to read this post? Jeeze... you're getting pretty lazy with your trolling.

     

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

  73.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: more suess-like

    Marcus, you need to grow up child. You are a skinny ass white boy with few real talents except the ability to bitch.

    lol - wtf does me being skinny and white have to do with anything? You're really reaching now, buddy

     

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  74.  
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    Niall (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    It would be even simpler to not let corporations 'own' copyrights, but have them assigned to someone specific. So X years after Walt dies...

     

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  75.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 6:49am

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

    Marcus why are you trying to show something for a moron in a hurry he is obviously in a hurry to flame you so he still didn't see the part where you explained the difference of parody and satire.

    I guess I'm just trying to underline his idiocy but you're right - I don't know why I bother. Nobody could do a better job at making him look stupid than he does himself.

     

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  76.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: more suess-like

    Again, who the hell is TAM?

    Someone who used to comment with the user name The Anti-Mike, but now seems to only comment as an Anonymous Coward.

    http://www.techdirt.com/user/tam


    Marcus, you need to grow up child. You are a skinny ass white boy with few real talents except the ability to bitch.

    I am not Marcus, but I do have to say that is about the most childish way to tell someone to stop being childish. Just sayin'.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 7:37am

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

    No. They just suck at reading comprehension too just like they suck at math.

     

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  78.  
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    Niall (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 8:04am

    Re: Is that you Jar Jar?

    Is parodying a parody even possible? :) Especially such a parody...

     

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  79. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: more suess-like

    "wtf does me being skinny and white have to do with anything? "

    I think it's just another great indication that you want to be what you are not, that's all.

    Thanks for ignoring the rest of my comments. I am glad you accept your position as Mike's bidet.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    PT, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Seuss has been down this road before ...

    Whatever one's views on posthumous copyright for existing works, there can be no justification for copyright on style to continue after death. I'm not even happy with allowing it during an author's lifetime.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: more suess-like

    Hey, once Marcus stoops, it's pretty much fair game to kick him in the ass. He's a Mike wannabe with a snarky, superior attitude, and the general way of dealing with that sort of person is to give them a swift kick in the jewels and tell them to get lost. Hard to do online, but hey.

    Marcus wants to think he knows something that he doesn't. The more he talks, the more he proves he is full of it.

     

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  82.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: more suess-like

    I think it's just another great indication that you want to be what you are not, that's all.

    Er... what?

    Thanks for ignoring the rest of my comments. I am glad you accept your position as Mike's bidet.

    The vast majority of your comments say a lot more about you than they do about me. No need to respond to them.

     

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

  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This case should even be a case

    There might be negative consequences for being seen to be profiting from murder.

    Although, maybe not in the states.

     

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


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