Dan Bull's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the it's-dan-bull,-son dept

Looking across Techdirt this week, two trends make themselves apparent time and time again. As artists utilize new ways to succeed, gatekeepers such as book publishers and record labels are becoming increasingly obsolete. The more obsolete these gatekeepers become, the crazier their tactics in trying to deny and prevent it.

It is futile to operate a tollgate when the fence it was attached to isn't there any more. Or, to paraphrase Patton Oswalt, there are no gates left to keep when "In my hand right now I'm holding more filmmaking technology than Orson Welles had when he filmed Citizen Kane." Of course, this paradigm shift in moving production and distribution into the hands of creators has been obvious for a long time, but several of this week's stories provide delicious examples of the trend.

Firstly, Blogger Penelope Trunk's conversations with her book publisher's PR team read like satire -- when asked how they might be promoting her book, their leading suggestion was to use newsgroups. I first had internet access at the turn of the millennium, and even then newsgroups were old hat. The fact that the professional PR wing of an esteemed publisher is still touting this kind of thing is astonishing. In fact, I'd wager that the Techdirt article about Trunk's situation will lead to more sales than any newsgroup promotion would.

At the same time, e-book author Stephen Leather was met with hostility at a literary festival for suggesting that anything except the traditional bookselling model was viable -- despite clear evidence to the contrary. The fact that Leather and others are successfully selling their e-books for such a low price is not devaluing literature. When production costs of publishing move towards zero, then it's inevitable that the sales point will move in that direction too. To deny such a trend with cries of not fair is not going to change the situation. Simple Darwinism is at work here. The ones who survive are the ones most adaptable to change. Although there is plenty that industry behemoths can do to close the gap, it will always be the lean, independent upstarts with nothing to lose who are the most nimble. And so it should be.

Rather than closing the gap though, it looks as if the industry old guard would prefer to carry on its war on the inevitable rather than focusing on how to meet consumer demands. The IFPI has announced that none of the money recovered from The Pirate Bay will be paid to the artists from whom it's been allegedly "stolen." Instead, it will be used to attempt to recover further moneys in the same manner. Dare we ask when that cycle will end. If recovering funds from infringement is funded by recovering funds from infringement, then stamping it out altogether would put a stop to the IFPI's new source of income. My friend spent eight years learning to drive, and I couldn't help wondering if her instructor was just milking her for as long as he could get away with it. Could a similar phenomenon be happening here?

Just for laughs, I was highly amused to see that a French company is attempting to copyright trademark the logo of notorious hacktivist group Anonymous. Surely someone, somewhere down the line must have suggested that this move might present more drawbacks than benefits. I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out.

It was also entertaining to learn that due to a technicality in UK law, the simple act of visiting a website results in copyright infringement. If you're in the UK and have visited a website lately, I'd suggest uninstalling your browser and wiping your hard drive right now. You know, just in case those pesky gatekeepers discover the exciting new revenue stream of recovering money from everyone who has ever visited their websites. I'm just kidding - that's about as likely as someone selling I Am Not A Virgin t-shirts being challenged by Richard Branson.

If you want to discuss this article with me, I'm on Twitter and Facebook.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    gnudist, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    It's TRADMARKs involved in the anoymous logo/sogan thing, not copyright.

    Get it right foo'

    /Like your music by the way

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    I am surprised it took this long for Mike to talk you into this. Too bad you didn't any much to the discussion, and then told us we can't talk to you here.

    Nice. Way to connect with fans.

     

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      gnudist, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      If you're sure he won't respond then commenting here is kind of pointless.

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Aug 4th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

      Re:

      More than likely, he said to discuss the article with him on FB and Twitter because its easier to do it there. Techdirt, you have to manually reload the page to see if there are any new comments; whereas, you just keep Twitter and Facebook open in your web browser and flick your eyes towards the tab every once in a while to see if there are replies. That way, he can reply back efficiently.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 2:55pm

      Re:

      We all know why you do this, but maybe is time to move on, you lost.

      You don't have any power to stop people from copying anything, but if you want to be Cpt. Ahab, that is fine too.

       

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      Dan Bull, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 5:09pm

      Re:

      I'm here - the links at the end are just for people who want to communicate using those means too.

       

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      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
         
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 8:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Okay, so Dan, do you spend your day scanning the headlines looking for parades to get in front of?

         

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          That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 5th, 2012 @ 1:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well you already took the job of taking cheap shots at people on Techdirt.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 6:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Cheap shot? I am asking what his method is for being so "up to date" on things. It's amazing that he can turn out song in less than 24 hours to be on topic. I wonder how he does it.

            I guess you got the being rude job.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 7:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No you are insinuating he is an attention whore bum and trying to dawn the victim mask, which is another cheap trick.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 11:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Cheap shot 1: "Nice. Way to connect with fans."
              Cheap shot 2: "looking for parades to get in front of?"

              I guess you're just like that guy from Memento. You can't remember the thing you did one minute ago.

               

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                The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 5th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

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

                "Here, have a beer. It definitely doesn't have any spit in it."

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 4:29pm

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

                "Cheap shot 1: "Nice. Way to connect with fans.""

                The way he finished his post was saying "I am talking at you, not with you, unless you go to these other places". If someone from the **AAs did that, Mike would rip them a new asshole.

                "Cheap shot 2: "looking for parades to get in front of?""

                It's what he does. I want to know the process for someone to be able to do that.

                The only cheap shot is that you don't hold everyone to the same standards.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 6:11pm

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

                  I love how you claim to know what mike's reaction would be.

                  But if we're going to talk about what ifs I'd think he would praise them if they tried connecting instead of being asshats, even if you had to go to a certain forum. As long as they don't just censor criticism or and allow more than just insiders participate I think it would meet with Mike's approval.

                  This is of course an educated guess based on what Mike actually posts here instead of whatever weird version of MIke you've made up in your head.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2012 @ 12:24am

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

                    "This is of course an educated guess based on what Mike actually posts here instead of whatever weird version of MIke you've made up in your head."

                    You honestly don't think Mike would use that as a chance to rip them? Mike has done it with much, much less in the past.

                    I read the site. That's why I can predict Mike's little jibes.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2012 @ 4:42am

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

                      If Dan Bull had proceeded to complain that people refused to connect him at Facebook or Twitter, or insisted that those were the only means of contacting him, then you might have a point.

                      The RIAA and MPAA deserve to get ripped a new one because they had to be dragged kicking and screaming into providing more options to consumers, said options are not generally consumer friendly - resulting them in being unsuitable for consumers through which they can legitimately obtain content. Yet, when this is pointed out the RIAA/MPAA complain that it's all the consumers' fault.

                      The RIAA is being judged on past behaviour for which they have not yet had just desserts for. You comparing Dan Bull to this is apples and oranges. Nice try attempting to drum up sympathy for them, though.

                       

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                  The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 6th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

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

                  Cheap shot 3: "It's what he does."
                  Cheap shot 4: "The only cheap shot is that you don't hold everyone to the same standards."

                   

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              Dan Bull, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 7:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, I shall assume your question was asked in good faith if you say it was. I do spend a lot of time reading the news and looking at current events, but not in order to jump on the bandwagon. My main areas of interest in the political sphere are digital rights, copyright reform and animal welfare. My songs about computer games are generally done for fun. I enjoy the challenge of trying to create a finished product with a really tight turnaround; at the same time I spend a lot longer working on album material quietly in the background.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 7:32pm

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

                Next up on the Dan Bull agenda: Animal welfare....ON THE INTERNET! (patent pending)

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2012 @ 12:23am

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

                Okay, so do you have pre-made tracks around that you add words over quickly, everything else good to go? Or are you making the music from scratch as well? Are you a musician, playing the instruments yourself, or are you sampling?

                 

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                  Dan Bull, Aug 6th, 2012 @ 6:45am

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

                  It depends from song to song, sometimes I work with other producers and I have a stack of instrumentals prepared for when I want to record quickly. I also do my own productions which include either live instruments, samples or a mixture of both.

                  I'd say the question "are you a musician or do you use samples" is a loaded one, there is some amazing music made by people who purely use samples. There is a video on YouTube showing how "Smack My Bitch Up" by the prodigy was built, using Ableton Live that gives a great insight into this.

                   

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                  Dan Bull, Aug 6th, 2012 @ 6:48am

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

                  It depends from song to song, sometimes I work with other producers and I have a stack of instrumentals prepared for when I want to record quickly. I also do my own productions which include either live instruments, samples or a mixture of both.

                  I'd say the question "are you a musician or do you use samples" is a loaded one, there is some amazing music made by people who purely use samples. There is a video on YouTube showing how "Smack My Bitch Up" by the prodigy was built, using Ableton Live that gives a great insight into this.

                   

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          apauld (profile), Aug 5th, 2012 @ 11:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Have you ever actually seen who is at the front of parades? If it isn't some local, with a horrific tale of survival; it is always some media whore with an agent... kinda seems like what you are into. You really should do the world one simple service and kill yourself. You are a pathetic and worthless entity and you have outlived any value to this world's society.

           

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      JMT (profile), Aug 5th, 2012 @ 5:27am

      Re:

      "...and then told us we can't talk to you here."

      Is it depressing to realise you're the only person reading this who leapt to that stupid conclusion?

       

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        gnudist, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 4:14pm

        Re: Re:

        See, I've got this mat that has different conclusions on it you can jump to.

        Troll AC signed on for beta testing.

         

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      abc gum, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 6:39am

      Re:

      "Too bad you didn't any much to the discussion"

      Appears you accidentally a word

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 6:43am

      Re:

      Or, more than likely, a larger percentage of his fans connect with him on Facebook and Twitter as opposed to Techdirt, and doing such might bring the discussion to the attention of people who might not otherwise participate.

       

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  •  
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    Rabbit80, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 5:22pm

    UK copyright - visiting a website

    "It was also entertaining to learn that due to a technicality in UK law, the simple act of visiting a website results in copyright infringement. "

    I learned that fact in 1996 whilst at college. It doesn't really result in infringement though (for a legitimate site) - the copyright owner that published the site does so with full knowledge that a temporary copy of the site will be made in your cache when you visit the site, so permission is implied by the act of publishing it for viewing by the public.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 7:58am

      Re: UK copyright - visiting a website

      ... the copyright owner that published the site does so with full knowledge that a temporary copy of the site will be made in your cache when you visit the site, so permission is implied by the act of publishing it for viewing by the public.


      That is the sane view. And in an earlier era, we could perhaps trust the common courts to maintain a little bit of sanity: Doctrines such as implied license sprang up to adjust the law to the real world.

      The insane view holds all copying strictly verboten: Viewing a website warrants two noisy helicopters in the sky over your house, whilst a hundred stormtroopers bust in doors and windows. Toss flash-bangs in. Shoot the family dog. Aim an assault rifle at the ear of a six year-old. Handcuff the child.

      Some people want to live in an insane world.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 6:30pm

    Welcome to Techdirt, Dan.

    Honestly can't say I'm a fan, don't much listen to music these days. Still, my hearts desire says I'm all for those that tilt the windmills of the major labels. I've no love for them with all the stupid stuff they've pulled over the years. They've earned a lot of bad publicity and an even worse reputation.

    So go knock em dead. I'll be cheering for ya.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 7:27pm

    The IFPI has announced that none of the money recovered from The Pirate Bay will be paid to the artists from whom it's been allegedly "stolen." Instead, it will be used to attempt to recover further moneys in the same manner. Dare we ask when that cycle will end. If recovering funds from infringement is funded by recovering funds from infringement, then stamping it out altogether would put a stop to the IFPI's new source of income.

    They know that their time is soon up and are just grabbing all the money they can before the general public finally gets fed up enough to wipe them out completely.

    They'll all gone soon.

     

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    charliebrown (profile), Aug 4th, 2012 @ 8:45pm

    Recorded Music

    I don't like the big labels. However, they did hold a copyright monopoly on recorded music for almost 90 years. What I want to know is, if the labels finally die off, what will become of those recordings? Do you think they'll become orphan works? Or do you think the (still living) artists will come up with ways for us to get their works?

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 9:34pm

      Will it rain tomorrow?

      Details of the future are notoriously difficult to forecast.

       

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      Dan Bull, Aug 6th, 2012 @ 6:50am

      Re: Recorded Music

      Hopefully they'll be able to be re-appropriated using some kind of loopholes or legal reform. I'm sure people won't just sit there for 90 years waiting all that forbidden culture to become legally useable. I hope...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 10:23pm

    ...what will become of those recordings?


    Given that there is no requirement that recordings be preserved for the future after copyright expires, I suspect they will be put in some dank warehouse on a pallet when their economic viability is dead. By the time they are public domain, most won't be in very good condition as they will have been moved to make room for those that do pay to be stored in humidity and temperature controlled storage areas.

    When they do become public domain, the hardware to play them probably won't be available to the general public. Some old granny might have a cd player or tape player that's been in the attic that belonged to her husband before he passed on. Even there, DRM will be the guardian that just won't quit. After it is public domain, DRM will still be alive and well in it. An authorizing server? Don't be foolish, they will long ago moved on and that server won't exist.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 10:59pm

      Re:

      Thats already happening, millions of recoding are already being lost even as I type this. All because of the greed of a few.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 11:54pm

      Re:

      And this is all for the "benefit of the public", of course, the shills will argue. There is no average human being who would consider the above a benefit but they'll insist that everyone else is a filthy pirate for thinking so.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re:

        Gruesome, isn't it? The filthy public, er, pirates, archiving what the rightsholders don't care or want to preserve for the future, all at no cost to those rightsholders...

        where are the crippling fines for letting past works disintegrate out of existence?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 11:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Fun fact: in trying to track down some old games I wanted to try out I found that the last known legal copies of half of them rotted and the only ones I could get were the ones preserved thanks to those dirty pirates.

           

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 5th, 2012 @ 1:31am

    Like OMG!! ITS DAN BULL!

    I was using you as an example this past week, discussing the Music industry. I was shocked people who read boingboing had never heard of you, work on that 'kay? :D

    http://boingboing.net/2012/07/31/music-industry-in-sum.html

    *ponders* I think I found the flaw in the digital age...
    How do I get you to sign my copies of Sharing is Caring?

    Don't mind the trolls, one of them really has a disturbing obsession with you. He puts words into your mouth and runs with it... he prolly wants to... nevermind I'll behave it is Sunday afterall... >:D

    Its nice to see you here, its one thing to see a story covering you it is another when your here being engaged and involved.

    Do you share the feeling the IFPI should be hauled into court to answer why when the court awarded damages to compensate specific artists and rightsholders, IFPI thinks they can ignore that order and divert the funds to themselves?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 11:43am

      Re: Like OMG!! ITS DAN BULL!

      "Don't mind the trolls, one of them really has a disturbing obsession with you. He puts words into your mouth and runs with it... he prolly wants to... nevermind I'll behave it is Sunday afterall... >:D"

      You are so full of shit. How do you even breath?

       

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        That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 6th, 2012 @ 3:15am

        Re: Re: Like OMG!! ITS DAN BULL!

        I'm not Carly Simon, and "You're So Vain" isn't about you. (I think, I lack the energy to bother seeing if your gravatar matches the other troll)

        I was discussing previous combat done with Trolls here who made claims that Dan had said and done things, but never could show where it was sourced from other than his own statements.

        It was a discussion about how Dan had downloaded a cracked copy of a program he had purchased because the cracked copy worked and the purchased copy was utter crap. It then derailed into this amazing debate about how he didn't need the expensive program he paid for, he could have done it with cheaper programs and he was only good because he stole.

        So sounds a lot like you, especially as your repertoire of insults seems to suffer when you get cranky. Notice you had to point out I was full of shit, I managed to dance around what I wanted to say and still got you angry... and I wasn't even thinking of you when I wrote it.
        umadbro?

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 6:40pm

      Re: Like OMG!! ITS DAN BULL!

      Don't Mind The Trolls, Here's Dan Bull.
      Nope, just doesn't have the same ring to it.

       

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      Dan Bull, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 7:19pm

      Re: Like OMG!! ITS DAN BULL!

      Thanks. I'm learning to distinguish between trollery and genuine critical questions.

      I guess if the IFPI have defied a court order then they ought to be held accountable and explain why. I don't know much about the law but that's what seems right to me as a layman.

       

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    The Professor, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 2:52am

    Good news everyone!

    The cartels lost one more battle this week. The newly elected French government said its shutting down that totalitarian wet dream called Hadopi.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 5th, 2012 @ 3:19am

      Re: Good news everyone!

      IIRC they were talking about the huge costs it took, and the "benefit" was hardly noticeable.

      Hopefully more countries will look at what happens when you buy into the fairy tale they tell, and that that annoying your citizens to make some butthurt megacorps happy doesn't end very well.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 5:08am

        Re: Re: Good news everyone!

        Hadopi had benefits? Well, I suppose opening up another department with lucrative salaries and not much work is beneficial to a select few.

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 7:49pm

    Copyright, trademark, tomato, tomahto.

    Make a movie, let's say a romantic comedy, and call it "Star Wars" (a trademark violation). You'll be sued by Lucas just as sure as if you'd done an unlicensed unauthorized remake (a copyright violation). The end result is the same.

     

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