Lucasfilm Steps In After FanFilm That Tried To Follow The Rules Was Claimed By Disney Over Star Wars Music

from the the-light-side dept

When it comes to Star Wars, both Lucasfilm and Disney have shown themselves to be perfectly insane when it comes to IP protectionism. Examples of this are legion, and neither company has come out of them with a stellar or fan-friendly image, generally speaking. That is probably why when Toos, the guy behind the quite popular Star Wars Theory YouTube channel, decided to put out a Darth Vader fan-film, he went out of his way to attempt to follow all the rules.

When he first began to make the Vader film, he contacted Lucasfilm who gave him their blessing to make it, as long as he made it without crowd funding and left the video un-monetized, meaning that no ads would run on it, hence there would be no revenue to collect from it.

These rules themselves don’t make it easy for fan-films like this to exist. The production costs for Toos’ film ran in the six-figures. Without the ability to run ads on the film himself, or crowd-fund the production costs, Lucasfilm’s rules almost feel like a test of Toos’ personal fandom. If so, it was a test he passed with flying colors, having completed the film and releasing it in January. It has been viewed over seven million times at this point.

Which probably makes it really annoying that Disney claimed the video on YouTube due to the inclusion of a short cover of the Imperial March being in the film and then subsequently decided to layer its own advertising all over the video.

Earlier this week, Theory posted a video saying that Disney and their partner company Warner Chappell had claimed that because the custom score used in the film used a rendition of the Imperial March score, then it was in violation of their copyright policy. They used this copyright to claim that the entire film was now their intellectual property and were now going to run ads on it and collect the revenue themselves.

Now, Toos could have appealed the claim, of course, which would have kicked off a claim/counter-claim routine that perhaps would have ended in a federal court filing. Given the money Toos already sunk into all of this, he produced a video instead saying he was just going to lay low on the whole ordeal.

Which is when, somewhat unexpectedly, Lucasfilm decided to get involved.

Yesterday, on January 16, Star Wars Theory posted another update video on his channel regarding Disney’s copyright claim, but this time it was good news. According to him, after a backlash from Star Wars fans, Lucasfilm stepped in and told Disney that Theory made the film under a certain set of rules and that they needed to release the copyright claim that they placed on the Vader fan film.

Which, yes, brings all of this back to where it was before Disney decided to claim the entire work of a fan-film over one of the most recognizable and widely available songs in any musical score on the planet. And this was, by the way, after Disney initially refused to back down at the request of Toos.

So…welcome to the light side of the force, Lucasfilm?

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Companies: disney, lucasfilm

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Comments on “Lucasfilm Steps In After FanFilm That Tried To Follow The Rules Was Claimed By Disney Over Star Wars Music”

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Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

When it comes to Star Wars, both Lucasfilm and Disney have shown themselves to be perfectly insane when it comes to IP protectionism. Examples of this are legion, and neither company has come out of them with a stellar or fan-friendly image, generally speaking.

This is actually a bit surprising to read, because I remember the author of Darths & Droids, a screencap webcomic that reimagines Star Wars as a tabletop gaming campaign that went totally off the rails, commenting on how friendly Lucasfilm had always been and how they felt safe using Star Wars screencaps because Lucasfilm had a long history of being tolerant and welcoming of fan works. So I’m kinda confused now…

That One Guy (profile) says:

'You kicked our car's tire, we'll be taking your car in turn.'

Warner Chappell had claimed that because the custom score used in the film used a rendition of the Imperial March score, then it was in violation of their copyright policy. They used this copyright to claim that the entire film was now their intellectual property and were now going to run ads on it and collect the revenue themselves.

Warner Chappell, now where have I head that name before… oh yeah, they’re the ones who had to be sued in order to stop shaking people down for singing ‘Happy Birthday’, to the tune of millions over the course of several decades. Given that, why am I not surprised they made a cash-grab here as well, gotta make up for the lost millions in ill-gotten profit somehow

Gotta love the what passes for logic they used there too. Infringe on one song that they own, and they claim ownership over the entire film, because clearly that’s a proportional, sane, and not at all overwhelmingly greedy response.

David says:

Re: 'You kicked our car's tire, we'll be taking your car in turn

Infringe on one song that they own, and they claim ownership over the entire film, because clearly that’s a proportional, sane, and not at all overwhelmingly greedy response.

That’s a misrepresentation. They don’t claim ownership over the entire film but claim to have a monetization interest/claim on the film, and since they are the only one who do, they get 100% of the ad revenue. And the reason they are the only one is that the rules according to which that film has been made prohibited the main creators to claim an interest.

That’s similar to how it works with trivial adaptations of a work in the public domain: since the adaptor is the only one with a remaining copyright/monetization claim, he gets all. I mean, that’s what Disney does with fairy tales.

That makes fan films according to fan film rules a sitting duck for that sort of claim: if you get even the silliest minuscule claim to stick, you reap the full reward because your claim is the only one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: 'You kicked our car's tire, we'll be taking your car in

Speaking of fairy tales &c, the idea that fan films would infringe copyright should be revisited. Copyright’s only supposed to cover an expression of an idea, not the idea itself. People should be free to use characters and story elements to make their own art.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'You kicked our car's tire, we'll be taking your car

Agreed.

I’m reminded of the story Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. It’s widely considered one of the greatest fan works ever created. It starts with the premise that instead of a loser like Vernon Dursley, Aunt Petunia had married a scientist instead, a good man who had raised the orphaned Harry with love and taught him about science. And then Harry gets the letter from Hogwarts, discovers magic is real, and starts using his scientific training to wreak havoc on the entire storyline.

Despite being a derivative work, it’s extremely original in what it does with the story of Harry Potter, and worthy of recognition as a creative work in its own right. But according to the legal status quo, it has no inherent right to exist and is only still out there because the Harry Potter rightsholders have not chosen to exercise their prerogative to get rid of it.

There’s something fundamentally wrong with that state of affairs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Hello there! You appear to have a particularly fragrant Libertarian leaning. You might not realize it, but not everyone decides to make money by any means possible. You might even be surprised to hear that some people would willingly lose money to labor for something just for the sake of doing it, as the person in the article did. When done willingly, this is an OK thing and should be lauded.

Hopefully you’re not the same type of person that thinks performing immoral acts for personal gain is kosher as long as you can get away with it. Now that would be silly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Hello there! You appear to lack common reading comprehension. You might not realize it, but a company shouldn’t be allowed to dictate such restrictions, even if they “own” the “property” of the franchise. You might even be surprised to know the very company which took Toos’ creation from him was responsible for the very copyright laws used to ensure they can take it away from him: Disney.

Hopefully, you’re not the same type of person who thinks me telling Toos he’s an idiot for agreeing to these restrictions by LucasFilms was due to his lack of personal gain, but to enforce the notion if these companies are so keen on protecting their works, they should stop releasing them to the public.

It’s human nature to spread culture, innovation, and art. Our DNA is infused with this natural talent much like procreating the species.

Toos spent 6 figures of his own money advertising for the Star Wars franchise under ridiculous rules.

That makes him an idiot in my book, because the 6 figures could have been used to make a completely new story without any restrictions.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Toos spent 6 figures of his own money advertising for the Star Wars franchise under ridiculous rules.

That makes him an idiot in my book, because the 6 figures could have been used to make a completely new story without any restrictions.”

You seem to assume that Toos was advertising only for the product he was using and nothing else. In fact, it appears that it was intended to promote his own Star Wars-themed YouTube channel as well.

Given the theme of the channel, why would he be promoting it without reference to the Star Wars brand? Even if you choose to ignore the fandom aspect that he was doing this purely for the love for it, your other option doesn’t make sense in context.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Toos spent 6 figures of his own money advertising for the Star Wars franchise under ridiculous rules.
>
> That makes him an idiot in my book, because the 6 figures could have been used to make a completely new story without any restrictions.

There’s this thing called opportunity cost, dood. If he had made a completely new story, it would have had no creative restrictions (other than being restricted from building on previous works, of course,) but it would have come without the massive pre-made audience that Star Wars brings with it.

John85851 (profile) says:

Does LucasFilm even have a say any more?

Since Disney bought LucasFilm years ago, does LucasFilm have a say in how the IP is used? If Disney says “these are the rules”, then how can LucasFilm say otherwise?
It would be exactly the same thing if you got permission for a project from ABC or ESPN or Pixar. How long do think that project will last if you didn’t get clearance from Disney, their parent company?

Sorry, but I’m going to say that LucasFilm’s opinion is irrelevant.
Not to mention there’s the issue of how LucasFilm’s policies may not line up with their parent company’s policies, which could be confusing to fans.

TKnarr (profile) says:

Re: Does LucasFilm even have a say any more?

Because LucasFilm, not Disney, owns the rights. Disney owns LucasFilm, but that’s a matter between them and doesn’t affect anyone dealing with LucasFilm over the rights.

Yes Disney can tell LucasFilm what terms they can offer and LucasFilm has to obey, but Disney can’t unilaterally revoke or change agreements LucasFilm’s already entered into with other parties. So once LucasFilm set the rules and Toos agreed to them and released his work abiding by them, Disney lost the ability to retroactively change those rules. They could prohibit any future works, but they can’t go back and rewrite the contractual past (especially unilaterally without the consent of the other party). If they asserted in court that they could, then LucasFilm could assert the same right to unilaterally and retroactively change the terms under which Disney bought them to give LucasFilm control over Disney and Disney wouldn’t be legally able to challenge whether they had that right. Even Disney’s lawyers aren’t quite that stupid.

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

The problem is copyright, not "abuse" or "insane use"

“both Lucasfilm and Disney have shown themselves to be perfectly insane when it comes to IP protectionism. ”

There is nothing “insane” about it. These are just companies using the legal rights given them by copyright. The problem is the tech-libertarians don’t have a principled opposition to copyright (or patent, for that matter), so all they can do is mutter “abuse” when someone actually uses the rights the law gives them. If you want to criticize the rights-holders here, criticizing the state for giving them these rights in the first place. How they use them is irrelevant.

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

Re: Re: Missing the point

“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

But it’s absurd to expect companies not to use legal rights available to them. And when they do, we should identify the real problem: not the fact that these enterprises used an existing law… but the law itself. I mean this is like saying that the problem with welfare is that if you offer free money to people, some people actually take it!

to invoke Edmund Burke: ” In vain you tell me that artificial government is good, but that I fall out only with the abuse. The thing! the thing itself is the abuse!”

the problem is that the tech-libertarians are not real libertarians and have no consistent theory of rights or government or politics. So all they are left with is impotent mewling about how certain laws or policies are too much “abused” or a given usage is “insane” (whatever that means). They can’t strike at the root because they have no solid principles. They have accepted the unprincipled utilitarian positivistic empiricism of our age, and thus are helpless to mount a coherent defense. So instead they whine about how some companies’ use of IP is “insane”. totally incoherent.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Missing the point

the problem is that the tech-libertarians are not real libertarians

You’re the one who brought up the term, so you don’t have much room to complain about it being a problem.

It’s like someone talking about vitamin supplements and saying "since this isn’t natural food, it’s poison. But it’s a special kind of poison that’s beneficial to people, so it’s good-poison." If it’s not actually poison, don’t call it libertarianism!

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Missing the point

not sure if I understand your comment. I’m a patent attorney, and electrical engineer; but also a libertarian. I understand patent and copyright law, and understand why they are evil and should be abolished. I understand why failure to have a principled view on this leads to confused and murky analysis.

By the way I’ve written a great deal on this. http://www.c4sif.org. And I speak on this often. I have a podcast too. If you want to have a skype or phone call to discuss, which I could record for the edification of others, I”m happy to do so–for free. LEt me know if you want to do it. you can reach me at nskinsella@gmail.com or whatever.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Missing the point

I understand why failure to have a principled view on this leads to confused and murky analysis.

No you don’t, as your previous comment makes painfully clear. You are blinded by the poison of libertarianism, to the point where you apparently can’t even recognize the existence of actual principles that conflict with your poisonous ideology, as evidenced by the way you label arguments derived from them "unprincipled."

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Missing the point

“No you don’t, as your previous comment makes painfully clear. You are blinded by the poison of libertarianism, to the point where you apparently can’t even recognize the existence of actual principles that conflict with your poisonous ideology, as evidenced by the way you label arguments derived from them “unprincipled.””

Sorry that you view my desire to respect your rights as “poison”. Sad. In any case– if you want me to explain any of this to you, I’d be happy to. For free. Just let me know.

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Missing the point

“I’m talking about your repeated requests to multiple people to continue this conversation elsewhere, to move it away from here, where everyone is calling you on the crap you’re posting, to a friendlier venue under your personal control.” Oh. I’m offering to tutor you people for free. And to record it and broadcast it so others, who are similarly confused or ignorant, can learn from the instructions so given. If you want to turn down my offer–your loss.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Missing the point

Nobody is confused or ignorant here. In this day and age it’s not like explanations or apologetics on the libertarian perspective are at all difficult to come by. For heaven’s sake, you guys are like freaking vegans: you’ll take any excuse to shoehorn your beliefs into any conversation and pontificate on why it’s supposedly a morally superior system!

Also, your "offer" comes off as incredibly condescending, and still would even if we didn’t already know what it would contain.

What you appear to be missing is that the perspective of normal people is that your ideology is nothing more than a bunch of fancy words to dress up the "philosophy" of the five-year-old (No! I don’t want to and you can’t make me!) and make it look morally acceptable to grown-ups, and that the grown-ups who are actually emotionally mature find this repugnant, particularly in the context of all of the real-world evil and suffering that this philosophy has ended up causing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Missing the point

Sorry that you view my desire to respect your rights as "poison".

You can always tell the troll in the room by the way he goes to great lengths to show how "reasonable" he’s being. Any decent human being will respect the rights of others, but libertarians have such a warped perspective on what those rights do and don’t entail as to make that statement essentially meaningless in the real world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Missing the point

Credentialism at its finest.

He’s a lawyer. Is he a JUDGE? A lawmaker? His opinion is just that, one opinion.

Abolishing copyright protection would cost the country a boatload of money and reduce the arts to a hobby.

How many profitable copyrights does this person own?

A compulsory-license scheme like with covers of songs would work better than abolishing protections, but some don’t even want that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Missing the point

Don’t let me stop you from properly debating my points.

How many profitable copyrights do you own?

There are those who create valuable works and parasites who want to siphen them. That much is clear.

If Disney’s work entertains millions of people (including first-responders, teachers, etc.) they are enriching the lives of those who make the world run (just like athletes) and should be compensated accordingly.

Abolishing copyright would also make SOFTWARE a hobby, or cfompletely proprietary or with a huge price tag for a single customer. This is not in the public interest.

The majority of political influencers don’t agree with you for a reason.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

If Disney’s work entertains millions of people (including first-responders, teachers, etc.) they are enriching the lives of those who make the world run (just like athletes) and should be compensated accordingly.

Two things.

  1. Bringing up “first responders”, etc. is a blatant attempt at appealing to emotions and your argument is all the weaker for it.
  2. Disney is not entitled to anyone’s money just because it released a new Star Wars film.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

  1. How many first-responders are Disney fans?

    2. Yes, creating a work does entitle the creator to be the one to profit from it.

    How many profitable copyrights do you own? Speaking of which, law firm advertising material would lose protection, so one firm could just copy another’s, were there no protection for IP.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

How many first-responders are Disney fans?

This has no relevance to the discussion at hand; it is merely a rhetorical trick meant to invoke an emotional reaction toward first responders.

Yes, creating a work does entitle the creator to be the one to profit from it.

An artist can make money from their works. An artist has every right to make money from their works. An artist is not entitled, in any way, to receive money from their works just for publishing them.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

  1. Yes, creating a work does entitle the creator to be the one to profit from it.

Wait, creating something entitles me to a profit?

When do I get paid for this comment?

…oh shit, look at my postcount. That’s a lot of comments. I own the copyright to all of them and, according to you, are entitled to a profit from them. How much does that work out to?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

“to be the one to profit from it” is not the same as being entitled to it, since they may not profit. It’s about others NOT profiting from siphoning their work.

Say some3one has a book on how to make 55 percent a year investing. Why should they publish it? Let’s say they proved themselves with a dozen free picks or whatever. With copyright, they can sell to the masses (like Beat The Dealer did), but without it, they can’t. The average investor will go nuts once s/he is convinced the author can actually make the money.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

With copyright, they can sell to the masses … but without it, they can’t.

Copyright doesn’t exist for the works of William Shakespeare, and I can go download them for free, yet copies of those works still generate revenue for book publishers every year. A lack of copyright would not prevent someone from offering their work to the masses — it would only make sure that someone who can offer something of value beyond the work itself will be able to make money from selling copies of it. A straight-up raw reprinting of Shakespeare’s plays would not be as enticing as a reprinting that includes notes and interpretations and other such “bonus material”, after all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

To quote Despair.com:

“The Secret of Success: What is the Secret? Pretend you have it, then offer to sell it to others.”

Let’s face it, if someone was that successful an investor, why would he give away his moneymaking secret in full, paid or otherwise? Why invite more competitors to divide up the pie even further?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

“if someone was that successful an investor, why would he give away his moneymaking secret in full, paid or otherwise?”

At the very least – why would he selling books to advertise his skills at $20 a pop rather than setting himself off as broker and taking a percentage from everyone he help?

The hypothetical investor is either a lazy bum who prefers passive book royalties to the work of investing, or an outright con man. Typical of the copyright defenders to go straight to actual criminal activity to defend someone attempts to have his own creation seen by the masses.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

“Say some3one has a book on how to make 55 percent a year investing. Why should they publish it?”

Because it’s an obvious scam and they’re make more money fleecing the gullible than they would by doing what they wrote about?

“The average investor will go nuts once s/he is convinced the author can actually make the money.”

…and even more nuts when they work out how they’ve been conned!

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

How many profitable copyrights do you own?

Why do you keep asking this? You seem to be implying that only people who hold a certain number of vaguely-defined “profitable copyrights” has any room to offer opinions on the subject.

But why should that be? That’s not a principle that applies elsewhere.

Should only professional athletes be recognized as having anything worthwhile to say about sports?

Should only addicts be recognized as having anything worthwhile to say about the opioid crisis?

Should only elected officials be recognized as having anything worthwhile to say about politics?

Should only ordained ministers be recognized as having anything worthwhile to say about religion?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Well that undermines the notion that only a copyright attorney is qualified to assess copyright law.

It also doesn’t answer the question: how many profitable copyrights do you own? You’ve made sweeping generations about how copyright is feast-or-famine that do not mesh with reality, i.e., that indies make good money, that every business would lose protection for its advertising, etc.

Someone who makes $50,000 for their works isn’t getting rich or ripping anyone off, yet still ahs a good incentive to create. Why should an internet company be allowed to leverage its business to dominate with distribution of creative works? That raises antitrust considerations and creates an even bigger barrier to entry because an author would then have to program a search engine, etc. (or pay the middleman).

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

“Well that undermines the notion that only a copyright attorney is qualified to assess copyright law.”

Actually the question is not “copyright law” but normative issues: not what the law is, but what it should be. Copyright lawyers (of which I am one) are not any more qualified than laymen about the latter issue.

“It also doesn’t answer the question: how many profitable copyrights do you own?”

I have already explained why this question is confused. No one knows how “many” copyrights they own. I “own” the copyrights already today in every comment I have posted here. Does this count as 10? AS for profitable–again, you don’t count things as “a copyright”. An author has one or more coyrights in a given work of authorship. I personally have made close to a million dollars from publishing legal treatises–outside of my work as a lawyer–but that doesn’t make me think there “should be copyright”.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

“I have already explained why this question is confused. No one knows how “many” copyrights they own”

He did specify “profitable” – which raises a much bigger issue. Should only the people successful under the current regime have an opinion about it, and those not currently successful be excluded from the entire conversation? That’s hardly a pro-artist stance.

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Missing the point

“How many profitable copyrights does this person own?”

Copyright doens’t work like this. It’s impossible to count “them”. I have a copyright in the comments I just posted. How many is that? What’s amazing to me is that people who know little about the law, like you, insist on having public opinions about it. Amazing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Missing the point

And when they do, we should identify the real problem: not the fact that these enterprises used an existing law… but the law itself.

I don’t know how long you’ve been on this site, but Techdirt spends a great deal of time criticizing copyright law.

Even ignoring that, it is possible to criticize a law and also criticize the people and culture which support and advance that law. Even "real libertarians" must realize that laws are not written or enforced in a vacuum, that it is because people want to use the law that it comes into existence, and it is only when people decide that using the law is wrong that it may be removed.

To claim that Disney is an innocent bystander that just happened to stumble across a law which just happened to grant them certain legal rights and so of course they just had to use them is, itself, "absurd."

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Missing the point

“I don’t know how long you’ve been on this site, but Techdirt spends a great deal of time criticizing copyright law.”

Sure–its implementation or some details but not copyright law itself. You have to oppose copyright. Be an abolitionist. Otherwise your complaints are hollow.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Missing the point

You don’t have to abolish copyright to make it meet its original mission or otherwise make it useful. In fact, taking an abolutionist stance is right up there with tinfoil hats and other nuttery.

Copyright has its uses. The problem is we’ve allowed corporations to twist and mutate it to their benefit and the detriment of everyone else. Meanwhile a whole industry has grown up using copyright as a cudgel to rob people.

No, nobody has to oppose copyright. That’s just silly and extremist.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Missing the point

it’s absurd to expect companies not to use legal rights available to them

LucasArts/Disney can technically shut down every Star Wars-related fan work in the world; it has the legal right to do so. But doing exactly that would burn away whatever goodwill they have left with the Star Wars fanbase. Again: “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Missing the point

But it’s absurd to expect companies not to use legal rights available to them.

No, that statement is absurd.

I have all kinds of legal rights I choose not to exercise. I have the legal right to become a Scientologist, vote for Trump, or attend a Nickelback concert. Just because I have the legal right to do those things doesn’t mean they’re good ideas.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The problem is copyright, not "abuse" or "insane use"

The endgame seems to be abolishing or weakening copyright protection to the point where the arts become a hobby, or where a patronage model takes over (which it is anyway due to distribution being the key to making money).

No one should have the right to steal the works of another. Comulsory licensing is the only middle ground here. Then the price of such a license could be debated, as with the “link tax.”

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The endgame seems to be abolishing or weakening copyright protection to the point where the arts become a hobby, or where a patronage model takes over (which it is anyway due to distribution being the key to making money).

When only a comparative handful of lucky-as-hell people can turn their creative works into a career that sustains a lifestyle of luxury most people could only ever dream of having, that “endgame” is already a reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Many people make strong, modest incomes of say a few thousand per work. The average SAG-AFTRA actor makes $6,000 annually and is advised by the guild to get a day job.

This doesn’t even take into account all the adwriters and marketing professionals, or those who publish trade materials, who would lose protection. This is why you’ll never see copyright abolished. They tried that in the 1700s and it didn’t work out.

Even if we abolished copyright, it would still be top-heavy, but the means by which we get there would be much more primitive and rely on marketing and expensive labor to get the word out and build distribution.

How many profitable copyrights do you own?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Many people make strong, modest incomes of say a few thousand per work.

So what?

The average SAG-AFTRA actor makes $6,000 annually and is advised by the guild to get a day job.

So what?

This doesn’t even take into account all the adwriters and marketing professionals, or those who publish trade materials, who would lose protection. This is why you’ll never see copyright abolished.

I would prefer to see it shortened and rebalanced in favor of the public interest, but hey, I’ll settle for abolishment if that’s the position you want to shove down my throat.

Even if we abolished copyright, it would still be top-heavy, but the means by which we get there would be much more primitive and rely on marketing and expensive labor to get the word out and build distribution.

This is how things are right now.

How many profitable copyrights do you own?

Pay me what you make a year in profts from your copyrights and I’ll tell you.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"So what" really doesn’t apply to several thousand dollars.

It does if you believe an artist is entitled to many, many more thousands of dollars because they published a given work.

Also many artists today can start making money long before the big companies come calling.

And they’re still not entitled to make that money just for publishing a given work. I could publish a novel on Amazon tomorrow and sell it for a dollar, but doing that does not entitle me to make thousands of dollars.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The problem is copyright, not "abuse" or "insane use"

Comulsory licensing is the only middle ground here.

You mean like performance license for music, where the Income is distributed according to income, robbing the poor to make the rich even richer. When anybody and everybody can have published works, that is how it will work, the more famous you are the richer you get, while most people will see nothing but a cost on the works they produce.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The problem is copyright, not "abuse" or "insane use

Compulsory licensing covers REproduction, not production. It allows both the ‘cover” artist and the rightsholder to profit. It’s a good system, as is ASCAP. There is always a theoretical fair value.

Without copyright protection, there is no incentive to create works, not just in entertainment, but in advertising, marketing, etc. even technical manuals for software, and of course the software itself.

On what ground do the pirates stand to justify their desire to take from those who make?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Given the vast number of works, from stories, artwork to music that will almost certainly never make any money, and yet are still created despite this, I think it would be safe to say that only a tiny minority have ‘making money’ as their reason for creating artistic works.

Most do it because they have an idea they want to put into a more solid form, and/or share with others. They create because they want to create something, be that picture song or story, not because they want to get paid.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The problem is copyright, not "abuse" or "insane

Without copyright protection, there is no incentive to create works, not just in entertainment, but in advertising, marketing, etc. even technical manuals for software, and of course the software itself.

You keep on bringing up that old canard, because most works that are created will never find a large enough audience to pay even minimum wages for the time spent creating them. Also, the ability to create new works is a valuable skill, and the basis for sponsorship and patronage.

As to software, 90% is bespoke software that is written to suite some business requirement, and has no value outside that business. Also Linus and his merry band, and Free many other free software programmers are paid to create software that is given away.

Now if your business model relies on gaining control over works created by others, and creating artificial scarcities to increase profits, little of which goes to the creators due to accounting tricks, then copyright looks much more important.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Winning where it countw: with governments and their courts.

Winning the right for artists to protect their works and prevent others from profiting from them.

The other side is LOSING all the stuff it stole for so many years and that’s why it’s throwing the tantrums. No one’s listening except perhaps that they were spurred on by the egregiousness of the pro-piracy movement.

The makers are crushing the takers and the takers can’t stand it. That’s the win.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Someone seems bitter over the fact that publishing companies make a fortune off works the artists willingly sign over the rights for.

The difference is that the artists CONSENT to having these corporations use their work, rather than having it stolen by people who have never produced anything in their lives.

The governments aren’t fooled and this blog will not change a single law, ever. Just an echo chamber.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Oh so it’s ad-hominem if I ask you, but not when people get personal with others. Right.

The audience can determine relevance. The question is simple. Actually I can check the LOC to see how many are registered in your name

Others who own XERO copyrigths have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by encouraging privacy. Motivation counts.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Sure it counts. The majority of the ones whining and pushing for more copyrights or simply showing support for the monstrosity that copyright is are the copyright holders and overall people who never created anything good. And quite a few of those thrive on building on top of the public domain.

So, what personal story devoid of evidence and verifiable facts you’ll tell us to support the monstrosity?

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“The question is simple. Actually I can check the LOC to see how many are registered in your name “

this is just registered copyrights. Those that people bother to register. And in the US. But since the US accession to the Berne copyright convention in the 1980s formalities are abolished. there is no need to register. Copyright is now automatic. So you don’t know what you are talking about.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

To a certain degree, yes. However, a lot of the legal protections associated with copyright are either diminished or nonexistent if you didn’t register. Not all of them, sure, but it’s by no means as simple as “it’s automatic and you have no need to register.”

If you honestly don’t understand the nuances of this, it kinda calls your self-proclaimed credentials as a copyright attorney into question…

Stephan Kinsella (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

THis is not exactly correct. The fact is you do not need to register to get copyright; it is in fact automatic. And most copyrights are never registered.

Nonetheless, to answer your pointless question I have lots of registered copyright that make money, for various publications such as Oxford and Oceana and others. So what?

TRN says:

Re: Re: Re:

As in currently making me money, or that I have been offered substantial sums(with less substantial royalties on a per dollar profit or small per dollar on gross retail) for exclusive licenses for? Because I own none that presently make me money as copyrights, I released those CC for anyone to play with, because it’s a hobby of mine, and I wanted to give back. I’ve been offered money for the designs of models no less than a dozen times for exclusive rights(with licenses per design and multiple designs per offer), and turned them down.

I’ve been offered(and been registered for) partial copyright of multiple books I’ve helped to write, while refusing any portion of royalties, and making it clear I want no limitations imposed on my behalf on the use of the works.

And you know what, copyright in it’s current form is stupid. I’ve put my money where my mouth is on that one, there’s no reason that the timer should only start after someone dies, there’s no reason for the timer to be 70 years long, there’s no reason why archetypical characters should be able to be copyrighted. But all of that’s just a little bit stupid, the real stupid is elsewhere.

It’s really stupid that copyright claims are presumed to be correct, it violates centuries of jurisprudence in this country, and the core tenants of the document from which the enforcement draws authorization. It’s f–ing stupid that I cannot legally do whatever I f–ing well please with a legally bought, not licensed copy of a work(if it says purchase, I’ve bought it, no licensed it). It’s stupider still, that companies can use these hopelessly broken and abusive laws to prevent me from fixing a device I own, a device unencumbered by stupid legalese in any contract even.

What copyright, in it’s modern form, is, is theft. Theft by breach of contract, by conversion, and by outright theft of purchased good. They’ve broken the contract by extending the terms to absurdity, stealing away the very history, culture, and arts that they claim to be protecting. They alter our devices, our property, in ways to steal from us the usage, claiming moral and legal right from this corrupted soil. They’ve outright stolen from us our property, taking away our goods as they see fit.

Copyright, as it currently stands, must fall. Must die. Copyright, as it was originally intended, however, is a useful thing so long as it’s kept from mutating and growing out of control. I demand that the stolen works be given back, that the stolen rights be restored, then, and only then, would I accept that copyright is a valid, legal, moral, and proper thing.

Copyright is allowed by the constitution, yes. But, not as it is, not as a trump card that destroys free speech, free expression, that ransacks both the culture and the items it touches to enrich a select few with more money than they could reasonably spend as the expense of others being stolen from. The publics rights to those works is important just the same as the authors, they simply have to wait a little longer in payment for them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s also trademark law and confusion. To be fair, a court ruled that the writer “Violet Blue” was allowed to prevent an adult film actress from using that name even though the latter wasn’t aware of “Violet Blue” being the writer’s actual name. She now goes by Amanda Noname.

Still, the idea that people would conflate DC comics with smut seriously falls under “moron in a hurry” territory. In that you’d have to be a pretty big moron to conflate print media with cosplay…

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