A New Animated Web Series About Copying And Copyright

from the check-it-out dept

A group of filmmakers has decided to put together an interesting new animated web series called "Copy-Me" all about copying and copyright -- and more specifically about culture and sharing, and why that's important (while also debunking some of the usual myths about copyright). Among the things they've claimed the series will cover are:
  • The importance of the public domain.
  • Artists making money without restricting access to their work.
  • A bit of copyright history.
  • The paradox of originality.
  • The state of the Internet today
  • The impact of copyright on every single part of society today.
While they're just getting started, it looks like it will be quite interesting. They've also put together an IndieGogo campaign for folks interested in supporting this project. Here's the intro video the filmmakers have made about the campaign, explaining a bit more of why they're doing this and what they hope to accomplish:
While there have been various other cool projects trying to discuss these issues, from Kirby Ferguson's Everything is a Remix to Nina Paley's Copying is Not Theft, the more the merrier in getting past the myths of copyright that a certain industry has been pushing for decades.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Shufflepants (profile), 8 Apr 2014 @ 8:30pm

    Hundreds of Billions of Years?!

    As soon as the graphics go away and a live person in front of a camera starts talking she says:
    "Copying is a practice that people have been doing for hundreds of billions of years."
    I've heard of the people who think that people have only been around for 6000 or so years, but this is the first I've heard about people who think that people have been around an order of magnitude longer than scientists think that the universe has been around...

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

    • icon
      ysth (profile), 8 Apr 2014 @ 10:52pm

      Re: Hundreds of Billions of Years?!

      That really irked me too.

      Maybe it's an oblique reference to 7 proxies?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 12:20am

      Re: Hundreds of Billions of Years?!

      They calculated it using copyright maths!

      Humans have been around for around 150,000 to 200,000 years or so based on archaeological evidence.

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

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 7:16am

        Re: Re: Hundreds of Billions of Years?!

        And typically during that time the population has averaged > 1 million. Hence the total time could be calculated as 150,000x a number >1 million = a number of the order of hundreds of billions.

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

    • identicon
      Ioana, 9 Apr 2014 @ 1:27am

      Re: Hundreds of Billions of Years?!

      Hi, yeah, that person would be me. And the hundreds of billions of years is, of course, a manner of speaking. I know it hasn't been around for that long (though 6000 years does seem a bit brief) :)

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

      • icon
        art guerrilla (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 5:18am

        Re: Re: Hundreds of Billions of Years?!

        i would have assumed it was simply casual hyperbole, rather than a Scientific American article...

        besides, you don't KNOW that we haven't been around for hundreds of billions of years; this could be the elevntythousandth time a big bang cycle has run its course...

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

        • icon
          Greevar (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 5:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Hundreds of Billions of Years?!

          I was thinking the same thing. We only know about what is observable to us, but what if there is more out there that we can't observe? Our universe could be like a pond of ripples where big bangs are happening all the time.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 8:34pm

    I'm just going to post these videos on torrent sites, the exposure should be as good as the money they're asking for.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 8:46pm

      Re:

      It certainly couldn't hurt their cause.

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

    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 8 Apr 2014 @ 9:08pm

      Re:

      1:50 in: "The videos will be up on Youtube and Vimeo with a pre-license to do whatever you want with it, no copyright"

      So, yeah, party on.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 9:33pm

        Re: Re:

        I love it when copyright maximalists help the anti-copyright cause (and look pretty dumb while doing it).

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 9:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Aw poor widdle baby. Sorry the truth stings.

          The jokers didn't even dare to admit who they were LOL

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 10:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And you're the epitome of identification.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 12:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Except that the indiegogo does, in fact, identify them.

            You're an idiot.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 12:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The jokers didn't even dare to admit who they were LOL"

            Ignoring the fact that the IndieGoGo page does in fact name the people who made the video, I bet you're too dumb to see the irony of this comment, aren't you?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 7:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            An Anonymous Coward, claiming with such smug surety that the creators refused to identify themselves when their IndieGoGo page clearly identifies them with both names and photos. Two of which then come to comment on this very article using their own names to answer questions/comments about their work.

            Achievement Unlocked: Moded

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

    • identicon
      Colin, 9 Apr 2014 @ 11:12am

      Re:

      The webseries will be live on Youtube and Vimeo, free for download and... torrent-able :)

      Man, doing exactly what they're saying they want you to do...such a rebel!

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

  • icon
    CK20XX (profile), 8 Apr 2014 @ 9:03pm

    Public Domain as a Scientific Concept

    Looking at how people just naturally share things with each other, could the public domain not be an area that is defined by law at all, but rather a concept in the science of anthropology? Perhaps everything enters the public domain immediately upon creation, regardless of what the law says? I'd like to see someone explore that angle.

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

    • icon
      Greevar (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 5:39am

      Re: Public Domain as a Scientific Concept

      That's always been my perspective. Laws don't change the nature of information and culture. They only punish those that act according to nature.

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

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 9:05am

      Re: Public Domain as a Scientific Concept

      When you're talking anthropology and, well, reality, I don't think you even need to apply a label like "public domain" at all. Instead it's simply the nature of all communication and expression: once something has been spoken or expressed in some way, it becomes fundamentally infinite, and owned by nobody. There's no natural limit on how widely it can be spread and no natural mechanism by which to prevent that spread, short of actually killing everyone who heard/saw something.

      But, regardless of labels, you're totally right: it's really sad that people now think copyright is the default and the "public domain" is the exception, when in fact the exact opposite is true.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 12:52pm

      Re: Public Domain as a Scientific Concept

      For at least 100,0000 years there was no copyright, or monopoly for those who created cultural works, yet there was vibrant culture. Indeed significant amounts of human culture have only survived because people copied each other's stories, music etc. because they were no ways of recording it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 9:07pm

    Except we don't all "do it." Some of us are extremely careful not to, whether because we don't want to fall afoul of copyright, or we don't want to give content owners a scapegoat as the nefarious pirate that is causing the sky to fall. Some just do without rather than copy - and this applies from realized content all the way to ideas in general.

    Of course I'm not saying we live in a vacuum, but to the extent we can control what we copy, at least some of us go out of our way to not copy and it's a false narrative to say that "we all do it."

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

    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 8 Apr 2014 @ 9:12pm

      Re:

      "but to the extent we can control what we copy," ... "it's a false narrative to say that 'we all do it.'"

      You contradict yourself in the same sentence. That is partly what they're talking about.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 10:54pm

      Re:

      I would venture to say that the IP extremists are probably the ones that are hedonist and hold a hedonistic position. Hedonism can not advertise altruism. So they secretly copy whatever they want, regardless of law, while telling everyone not to copy. They basically act in their own best interests with no regard for others.

      After all, 95+ year copy protection lengths and retroactive extensions is not exactly the epitome of ethics. It's a product of having no moral values whatsoever and it's not hard to imagine that those responsible for this public domain theft, those that lobbied congress for these laws through secretive meetings and revolving door favors, have no regard for morality whatsoever. They likely also infringe and their moral argument is simply a selfish one that they present to others.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 11:48pm

      Re:

      You seriously saying you don't copy anything. Ever. Right...

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re:

        Even better. They did NOT copy those words they used out of a dictionary, NOR did they copy whomever taught them to speak or write.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 12:53am

      Re:

      "Except we don't all "do it." "

      Define "it". Most people break laws they're not even aware of, and recent history shows you can have your work claimed as infringing even if you've not copied a damn thing. That's even before you get into the murky subtleties of things you should be able to do but corporations are doing their best to outlaw.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 9:01am

        Re: Re:

        Oh Noes. I just realized that when you save a bookmark you save a COPY of the URL. Infringement in it's most dastardly configuration.

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

    • icon
      Rikuo (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 1:46am

      Re:

      Strictly speaking, you have done the act of copying in reading and commenting on this site. You had to download a copy of the site into your web browser, including all the different graphics next to each user's name (for example, the orangutan next to mine). How do you know that I have the license or copyright for that photo? It is a photo I took several years ago, but you can't be sure, since you don't know me and I never registered it.
      Whenever you speak, you are copying words, you are using pre-arranged letters and words and making them into a sentence.

      So, when you say you're careful not to copy, perhaps you should be more precise, and say you don't copy commercial movies and TV shows?

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

    • identicon
      V, 9 Apr 2014 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      So I guess you've never sung "Happy Birthday" to anyone without a license? Or forwarded an email?

      http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/ulr/article/viewFile/7/11-Copyrights

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 9:12pm

    I am just waiting for the MPAA or one of the studio's to make a bogus DCMA take down notice because of some dreamed up way it infringes... You know like it offends their values or something

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 9:28pm

    Astroturf. Dark, brown Astroturf.

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

  • icon
    saulgoode (profile), 8 Apr 2014 @ 10:04pm

    Your point is well-taken for the sense of copying in a manner that might qualify as infringement under current laws. But in the broader sense of copying, it is undeniable that "we all do it". You see, I just copied from your post ("we all do it"), and you copied it from the video. Would such copying qualify as infringement? Probably not*, but it is copying.


    * But then, some courts have found that a single-line poem, or a 13-second performance, is deserving of copyright protection. So who knows for certain?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2014 @ 10:08pm

    They have an indiegogo campaign which provides much more detail + bios of those involved.

    I didn't see the indiegogo link on their site but saw it via their Twitter account.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/copy-me-a-webseries-about-copying--3/x/7054659

    Looks cool.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:03am

    Public Records, Privacy

    I hope they include the issue of libraries.

    State libraries, and others, are the repositories of "public records" which are labeled as "archives" and are so defined in state code. Yet these agencies assume common-law copyright over these old manuscripts, demanding permissions rights, and royalties based on print runs, and collecting personal information in the process, inconsistent with Freedom of Information laws and Privacy Laws.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 4:43am

      Re: Public Records, Privacy

      this just came up with my reading this morning. NYC released a whole bunch of photos, which is cool...

      but wants a license fee to use a 100+ year old picture. When the picture is marked 1897, how are you claiming copyright over it? (no, the scan does not count)

      which is a shame, the pictures are pretty cool.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 5:03am

        Re: Re: Public Records, Privacy

        do you have a link to the piece

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 7:02am

          Re: Re: Re: Public Records, Privacy

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2014 @ 6:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Public Records, Privacy

            Here is the link the NY Municipal Archives. The Archives does not claim to own the copyright on any or all of the images.
            http://nycma.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet

            "Some of the images in the Online Gallery may be subject to third-party rights such as copyright..."

            Here is the link to the Terms of Use.
            http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/html/gallery/orderform.shtml

            RIGHTS AND PERMISSIONS:

            Please note that photographic prints are provided for personal use only and may not be transferred to another individual or institution without permission... If you wish to PUBLISH a photograph, or use it for any COMMERCIAL purpose, you must apply for permission and pay the appropriate license fee.

            - - - - - -

            Here is the Copyright Law on Archives making reproductions.
            http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.pdf

            § 108 · Limitations on exclusive rights:
            Reproduction by libraries and archives

            (a) ...it is not an infringement of copyright for... archives... to reproduce... or to distribute... if—

            (1) made without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage...

            - - - - -

            The commercial limitation applies to ARCHIVES which may try to benefit commercially. They cannot SELL permissions and collect royalties unless they have a license to do that from the copyright holder.

            It is NOT an infringement to copy and distribute, but it IS an infringement to AUTHORIZE.

            - - - - - -

            http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf

            Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians

            Senate Report: Discussion of Libraries and Archives in Profit-Making Institutions

            The limitation of section 108 to reproduction and distribution by libraries and archives “without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage” is intended to preclude a library or archives in a profit-making organization from providing photocopies of copyrighted materials to employees engaged in furtherance of the organization’s commercial enterprise, unless such copying qualifies as a fair use, or the organization has obtained the necessary copyright licenses.

            - - - - -

            http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat072204.html

            Thus, vicarious liability requires two elements:
            (1) the right and ability to supervise or control the infringing activity; and
            (2) a direct financial benefit from that activity...

            In the 1976 Act, Congress recognized secondary liability in the grant of rights under copyright, providing authors and copyright owners with the "exclusive right to do and to authorize" the enumerated rights. As the legislative history to the Act explains, "[u]se of the phrase 'to authorize' is intended to avoid any questions as to the liability of contributory infringers."

            - - - - - -

            Going back to Copyright Law,
            http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.pdf

            (e) The rights of reproduction and distribution under this section apply to the entire work... made from the collection of ... archives... if the... archives has first determined... that a copy... cannot be obtained at a fair price, if—
            (1) the copy or phonorecord becomes THE PROPERTY OF THE USER...

            - - - - - -

            Compare this to the above Term of Service:

            ...prints... may not be transferred to another individual or institution without permission...

            - - - - - -

            Compare to this case:
            http://blog.librarylaw.com/librarylaw/2010/07/cci-update-legal-action-against-a-cultural-instit ution.html

            I also wonder how much the desire to run a photo reproduction permissions business and generate some revenue may have contributed to the museum’s seemingly sloppy practice.  Regardless of how the case turns out, the legal process is going to prove to be expensive, and if the Smithsonian should lose, it could face up to $150,000 in statutory damages per image.  $50 per image in licensing revenue hardly seems worth it if the desire to generate revenue led to the mistakes that appear to have been made. 

            - - - - -

            See: ANNE PEARSE-HOCKER v. United States

            - - - - - -

            (1) ... and the library or archives has had NO NOTICE that the copy or phonorecord would be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research...

            - - - -- -

            In the above, there is NO authority granted to archives to ASSUME responsibility for the USE of a work.

            Compare to the Library of Congress, where the following phrase is inserted into the standard copyright notice used for copy services:

            http://www.loc.gov/duplicationservices/cond.html

            "All responsibility for use of the reproduction is assumed by the applicant."

            - - - -

            Collecting information about the USE of a copy, opens an archives up for secondary infringement liability,

            And

            violates state Privacy Laws.

            What law authorizes the collection of this personal information - - how will the personal information be used, how long will it be kept, is it subject to freedom of information, etc.?

            If 10 people sell their copies of an image on eBay, and 20 people obtained a copy of that image from the Archives, how will the Archives know which recipient violated the Restrictive Covenant? The Terms of Service are unenforceable, against public policy, and represents censorship.

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

      • icon
        saulgoode (profile), 9 Apr 2014 @ 5:52am

        Re: Re: Public Records, Privacy

        I'm not familiar with the story about which you speak (a link would be appreciated), however, the New York Public Library (about a week ago) released scans of their collection of public domain maps, for no fee.

        http://www.nypl.org/blog/2014/03/28/open-access-maps

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.