Fair Use Costs $350 According To Radiohead

from the seems-a-bit-on-the-pricey-side dept

This story seems a bit odd (though, it's well written and amusing), but, according to Copyfight, the writer of Planet Simpson, a book about the popular TV show, had to pay $350 to quote some lyrics in the book by the band Radiohead. He didn't have to pay to quote many books, but when it came to lyrics, the checkbook had to come out. Then, just to lay on the irony, the writer, Chris Turner, relays a story of how he actually met the band a few years ago, through a chance encounter. During that time, he gave the band copies of a magazine article he had written -- which members of the band liked so much they started discussing it during concerts. In other words, the band had no issue using the author's ideas and words (for free, of course) to build on those ideas and make them a part of their concert -- but, when Turner tried to use just a few of their lyrics (well within fair use rights) in his book, he had to pay up.

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  • identicon
    Obtuse Moose, 22 Nov 2004 @ 7:52am

    Radiohead, or Warner Bros.?

    There are lots of details missing from the article.
    What exactly did he ask Warner Bros. permission to do? According to the article, it sounds like he was granted the right to publish the lyrics of the entire songs, not just quote a few lines from them. It's not clear whether that's what he requested (or whether WB understood his request and didn't just pigeon-hole it into a standard lyric publishing request.)
    The article implies that he didn't actually contact the members of the band (he was "almost certain" they would have let him use the quotes.) Legally, if WB owns the rights, then there's nothing the band could have done except requested WB to grant permission. But it seems like your title for this item on techdirt might better read "Fair Use Costs $350 According to Warner Bros."
    The fact that the guy was a Radiohead fan, had met the band, and they talked about his ideas in a concert doesn't seem to be relevant to what Warner Bros. does.
    And finally, if someopne decides to pay for something they are legally entitled to for free, perhaps in hopes of avoiding the hassle of a lawsuit, then that should be a business decision. In this case it sounds like he is trying to blame WB for a decision he made himself and now regrets.

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

    • identicon
      obstuse squirrel, 22 Nov 2004 @ 9:18am

      Re: Radiohead, or Warner Bros.?

      Sounds like you miss the point that the author makes. where words on a page are have vastly different meanings about when the cash register comes on.
      I toil away coding c++, c code and assembler and all I get is a one time payment per hour of my output. no factoring in where it will be "performed" "published" whether the artiste who coded it should derive any residual benefit.
      I fail to have a lot of sympathy for recording artits and motion picture companies just because they want to be pigs about their revenue. I fail to see any fundamental differences between the final products of theirs or mine other than silly rules and huge greed.

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

      • identicon
        VonSkippy, 22 Nov 2004 @ 3:06pm

        Re: Radiohead, or Warner Bros.?

        The Difference - they have a better business plan and lots of lawyers. Does Microsoft toil away on code only to sell it ONCE??? Nay, they sell the same code over and over and over again. You my friend are getting screwed by your lack of business sense. Either accept the fact, or get a better contract. I fail to have a lot of sympathy for coders that are "tech smart" but "business stupid". Also, check out MTV or HBO, perhaps that will clear up the difference between what you write and what Artists perform.

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

        • identicon
          obstuse squirrel, 22 Nov 2004 @ 6:17pm

          Re: Radiohead, or Warner Bros.?

          problem that I point out is not my sorry lot... whatever that is.

          In music and picture land you are not assumed to give away publishing and performance rights unless you take extraordinary measures. Most programmers have always been assumed to just be code mills made of meat. It takes a contract to transform one into something else.

          Of course any individual can negotiate whatever the market can bear, but the problem is that it is all on an individual basis. Why is it not assumed to be so for all the guitar players and camera operators... excuse me, filmmakers.

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

          • identicon
            Douglas, 29 Nov 2004 @ 4:47pm

            Re: Radiohead, or Warner Bros.?

            > Why is it not assumed to be so for all the guitar players and camera operators...< br>
            It is! They sign contracts with.. for example.. Warner Bros. so that they loose rights in just the same way that you sign away your rights.

            Hopefully the company you sell your code to doesn't just sell their code once, and even more so, I hope you write reusable code so that you can sell it to your employer more than once too!

            Douglas

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


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