The Shittiness Of IP Law Has Taught The Public That Everything Is Stealing And Everyone Is Owed Something

from the the-market-value-of-seven-second-loop dept

In an article that's actually a bit (but just a bit) more thoughtful than the headline applied to it ("How Corporations Profit From Black Teens' Viral Content"), Fader writer Doreen St. Felix tackles the cultural appropriation of creative works. Sort of.

While the article does quote from a 2008 essay about the historical cultural appropriation of black artists' works by record labels, etc., the article does not point out any specific appropriation occurring here -- at least not in terms of the two creators St. Felix has chosen to write about. And it has nothing to say about how these corporations are "profiting" from this supposed appropriation.

One of those is Kayla Newman, whose offhand comment in a Vine video birthed a new slang term.

In the video everyone knows, uploaded on June 21st, 2014, Kayla admires her precisely arched eyebrows: “We in this bitch. Finna get crunk. Eyebrows on fleek. Da fuq.”
Newman's Vine video has generated 36 million loops, moving "on fleek" from her lips to the Urban Dictionary and beyond. Some of those stops have been corporate. St. Felix points to IHOP and Denny's Twitter accounts' use of the phrase in an attempt to "feign cultural relevance."

That appears to be the extent of the "appropriation." No one's monetizing the phrase, nor have these corporate entities done damage to anyone but themselves by deploying it. Newman hasn't seen any money from creating the slang term, although it's not for a lack of trying.
“I gave the world a word,” Newman said. “I can’t explain the feeling. At the moment I haven’t gotten any endorsements or received any payment. I feel that I should be compensated. But I also feel that good things happen to those who wait.”
The other artist quoted in the Fader article is a dancer named Denzel Meechie. Meechie performs improvised dance routines to various songs. This has earned him millions of views on YouTube. It has also seen his original account shut down by the rightsholders of the songs he dances to.
In mid-September, YouTube shut down Meechie’s channel, which had accrued hundreds of thousands of subscribers. “I had too many copyright strikes,” he said, referring to his use of songs without explicit legal permission from labels.
Ironically enough, some artists whose labels have issued takedowns have actively sought out Meechie because of his viral cachet.
According to Meechie, labels contact YouTube and demand his videos be taken down, often without the knowledge of their own artists, some of whom pay him directly to help boost their buzz. “And it’s crazy, you know, because the artists ask me to put the videos up.”
That's what happens when you turn over copyright enforcement to algorithms.

Once again, we're not seeing much evidence of corporate cultural appropriation of black artists' creations. But the essay St. Felix quotes from does have something relevant to say about the intellectual property power structure.
“Black artists had no input in [copyright law], and examination reveals that it is in some respects incompatible with Black cultural production in music,” writes Greene, arguing that multiple copyright standards were specifically structured to preclude black blues artists, especially women, from claiming ownership.
It's not just black artists, though. It's all artists. Intellectual property laws have been refined by corporations and their lobbyists to provide the most protection for those with the means to benefit from extended copyright terms and ridiculously generous readings of trademark claims: corporations.

But K.J. Greene's next assertion (from her cultural appropriation essay) goes right off the rails.
“The idea/expression dichotomy of copyright law prohibits copyright protection for raw ideas,” Greene wrote. “I contend that this standard provided less protection to innovative black composers, whose work was imitated so wildly it became ‘the idea.’”
Opening up the law to include protection of ideas won't stop the IHOPs of the world from borrowing slang from a teen on Vine. It will, however, be exploited thoroughly by the same labels and studios that exploited black artists in the past. It won't level the playing field. And beyond all of that, it's just a stupid thing to say.

As is some of this, when St. Felix tries to tie this all together.
In some sense, the roaring debates over white appropriation of black slang, music, and dance have worked as an avatar for circumstance of the independent black creator in the digital age. But the analog is insufficient. Intellectual property and viral content should be interrogated from a legal standpoint[...]. The copyright statute under which Meechie’s YouTube account got flagged and then taken down should be re-examined, as should the legal gray areas that leave individual creators like Newman in the cold.
We can agree that the killing of Meechie's original YouTube account should be examined more closely, but the fault lies with labels that have opted for efficiency over accuracy -- the deployment of bots that only recognize certain arrangements of ones and zeroes, eliminating any of the nuance or context that make fair use a viable defense.

As for Newman, it's entirely unclear how much income St. Felix -- or even Newman herself -- expects a viral video loop that birthed a slang term to generate. Users can't monetize Vine loops, at least not directly. Pursuing someone for copyright infringement (if they used the Vine loop in a YouTube compilation video, for example) would be of limited usefulness.

If the concern is limited to the worldwide "unauthorized" use of "on fleek," the route for monetization runs through the trademark office. Unlike copyright, trademark doesn't apply automatically. It must be applied for, accepted and -- most importantly -- put to use. These steps aren't cheap.

But why should anyone expect this contribution to the English language to generate income? It's two words from a seven-second video, and the only way it would conceivably be protected would be as a trademarked phrase, which would only prevent others from using it under specific circumstances for specific goods/services. It will not return "ownership" to Newman. Nor will it rebalance the IP playing field. There's arguably nothing protectable here, no matter how Newman, St. Felix or essayist K.J. Greene feel about it.

Yes, corporations are opportunists who will often use current slang to coat their advertising with "How do you do, fellow kids?" vibes. But they're not co-opting cultures. They're just acting the way we expect corporations to act: make various stabs at youthful relevance with (usually) awful results. St. Felix's article does a great job tracing the origin of the phrase, but never comes close to making a point about cultural appropriation or tying this supposed act to corporate profits.

The point that does come through is that something is wrong with IP laws, but the fixes suggested here would only make things worse. And even embracing the ridiculous concept of extending IP protections to unformed ideas still wouldn't turn two words into money. Being outraged that corporations frequently behave in a manner that only furthers their own interests is a nonstarter. Stretching the shameless repurposing of slang by corporate Twitter accounts and the merciless actions of infringement bots to be indicative of a new era of exploitation of black artists is reading far too much into the predictable actions of both corporations and the bots that work for them.


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  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:49am

    "That's what happens when you turn over copyright enforcement to algorithms. "

    No, that's what you get when people don't understand DMCA, and don't fight for their rights. If the artists are paying this guy to dance to their music, then he has all the rights he needs. Answer the takedown notice, and everything should clear up.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      Yeah, everyone can afford to risk lawsuits on a whim.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      But it still causes a lot of problems for the person to issue a counter notice. Even then the labels may still issue another notice.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:54am

      Re:

      No, that's what you get when people don't understand DMCA

      I had to stop here for a laugh. Copyright is a nightmare for experts. Imagine for the average joe...

      If the artists are paying this guy to dance to their music, then he has all the rights he needs.

      And yet his account was taken down. And it's very far from the exception.

      Answer the takedown notice, and everything should clear up.

      The comedy! You are good at it! While it isn't magically cleared the receiving end can rest assured his content will be blocked from the world. Awesome! Keep up pal, I laughed hard now.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:54am

      Re:

      Actually it's what happens when one video service dominates the field. There should be a mass exodus away from Youtube because of their policies, but there are few places people can go and get their fanbase to follow them.

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:56am

        Re: Re:

        And unless we change these shitty laws the next platform is doomed to walk the same path. So, yeah, the peasants and the not-insanely-rich-and-successful artists are screwed.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 10:26am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, here's the biggest problem with that: Youtube only survived the barrage of lawsuits against it because a company with huge pockets bought it up and was willing to spend enough to defend it. Without that it would have been shut down years ago.

        Any newcomer into the field would face the same problems, and would quickly find itself on the receiving end of a multitude of threats to implement 'copyright owner friendly policies' unless they wanted to be sued into oblivion for 'promoting and facilitating infringement', which would lead to them being no better, and possibly even worse, than YT in this regard.

        Hard to create a better alternative with that hanging over the head of anyone that might try.

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    • identicon
      A Non-Mouse, 28 Jan 2016 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      "If the artists are paying this guy to dance to their music, then he has all the rights he needs."

      You actually think the artists hold the copyright to their recordings?!? How cute!

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 10:20am

      Re:

      Even if it was a simple matter to contest the claims and remove the strikes(because of course everyone out there is an expert at copyright law, has both the time and expertise to fight bogus claims, and are in a position to risk legal troubles if the label feels like escalating it), that would not in any way make the automated claims of infringement, the same claims that got his channel shut down, any more acceptable.

      That he could have fought back does not make it any more acceptable that the labels of the same artists that are willing to pay him to advertise their music are claiming that the resulting videos are infringing, and forcing him into the position of having to defend his account from their claims.

      If the artists are paying this guy to dance to their music, then he has all the rights he needs.

      Here's the kicker: Depending on the contract between musician and label, there's very good odds that no, he doesn't. It wouldn't matter in the slightest if the musicians not only gave their permission but directly paid him to create those videos, because it's entirely possible that the musicians don't have the rights to 'their' music in the first place.

      In that case he could very well have contested a strike against his account, pointed out the contract with the artist, only to find out that the artist didn't actually have the ability to grant him permission to use 'their' song, in which case the strike stands. Three of those, and his account is toast.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 10:34am

      Re:

      If the artists are paying this guy to dance to their music, then he has all the rights he needs.

      Once they have signed their copyrights over to a label, they are guilty of contributory infringement by encouraging other to use works that they do not control the rights for.

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    • identicon
      kog999, 28 Jan 2016 @ 10:39am

      Re:

      Only if the artist holds the copyright to his own song. If the label owns it, it doesn't matter what the artist does.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      "and everything should clear up"

      And when the corporate lawyers respond and say the takedown notice was valid despite the uploader explaining why it wasn't, YouTube will side with the corporation and the takedown and the demerit remain in place.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:16am

      Re:

      Should

      and no big deal when it doesn't - as seen plenty of times.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      No, that's what you get when people don't understand DMCA, and don't fight for their rights. If the artists are paying this guy to dance to their music, then he has all the rights he needs.

      This is almost certainly not true. In most cases, you'd actually need at least 3 separate licenses, which most likely are not controlled by the artist. You'd need to license the sound recording (probably held by the label), and then get a mechanical (probably controlled by HFA) and then also a synch license (probably from the publisher). In some rare cases an artist might control all three, but that's super rare.

      But even so you're missing the point. Saying "just contest the takedown" pretends that doing so is easy and does not potentially put you at risk.

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      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 7:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Sadly, what that implies is that the artists, knowing fully well that they don't have all the rights to their material (they SOLD them on to someone else) still represent to the artist that they have those rights. Not that anyone wants a lawsuit, but the dancer dude would likely have a decent case here.

        Contesting the take downs when you feel you have the rights is a good thing to do. Remember, not every DMCA complain leads directly to a lawsuit (in fact, very, very few do). The assertion of the DMCA and the counter claim do not automatically lead to a lawsuit.

        Making any legal assertion will certainly put you at risk - then again, using someone's content to make your fame on YouTube has certain risks as well. So does walking across the street. For everything we do in life, there are always risks.

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        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 29 Jan 2016 @ 1:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Contesting the take downs when you feel you have the rights is a good thing to do.

          It is indeed. When there is a way to do so. And even then your content is taken down BEFORE evaluation. Which means it will be down for a while. Youtube takes the entire account down after some strikes for instance. That's a very high price to pay if you live from such channels.

          Making any legal assertion will certainly put you at risk - then again, using someone's content to make your fame on YouTube has certain risks as well.

          You see, the content is pretty much a noise here. The real content is his dancing. So there should be no risk at all. But alas that's the shitty copyright laws we have today.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2016 @ 10:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The content is a video track and an audio track, plus whatever of those pop-up things he's put on it. Video and audio are equally important, with one missing the meaning is lost.

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        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 29 Jan 2016 @ 5:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Feelings have nothing to do with it. Dancer Guy was advertising the song, he should have been left alone. If Big Content weren't such control freaks, the smart thing to do would be to append a notice to the description or to the video itself with a link to where the music can be paid for. Ad revenues could be split between the dancer and the rightsholders, but why leverage all those extra ears and eyeballs when you can play "Nightclub bouncer" over the music instead?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      It's what happens when you have a one sided penalty structure written by corporate conglomerates.

      "This may result from the inherent imbalance in prerequisites for the original complaint and the counter-notice. To get content removed, copyright holder Bob need only claim a good-faith belief that neither he nor the law has authorized the use. Bob is not subject to penalties for perjury. In contrast, to get access to content re-enabled, Alice must claim a good faith belief under penalty of perjury that the material was mistakenly taken down. This allows for copyright holders to send out take-down notices without incurring much liability; to get the sites back up, the recipients might need to expend considerably more resources. Section 512(f) makes the sender of an invalid claim liable for the damages resulting from the content’s improper removal, including legal fees, but that remedy is not always practical."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_Copyright_Infringement_Liability_Limitation_Act

      but of course I see you continuously ignoring this imbalance and pretending it's not there and that it has no effect and that it wasn't intentionally put there because of the effect it would have. It was written by corporate entities exactly because of the intended impact it would have and that impact is to stifle competition and to harm independents that want to distribute their content on platforms and to make it more difficult for platforms to serve user generated content. If the unbalanced nature of copy protection laws aren't intended to have an effect why make the laws so unbalanced?

      But keep covering your ears, closing your eyes, and singing la la la la, and ignoring how bad the laws are and how their intentionally unbalanced nature harms artists (and are intended not for the artists but for the distributors). In the meantime you will only make yourself look more and more foolish as no one would take you seriously. Your intentional ignorance of the facts only harms you.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      Answer the takedown notice, and everything should clear up.

      OR, fix the root cause of the problem, and ensure that these algorithms DON'T SEND THE NOTICES IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      Funny how you want to make sure everyone gets paid for their intellectual property, yet don't give anything closely resembling a shit as to the people who are having their time wasted.

      Perhaps YOUR time isn't worth anything. However, the time of the person who has to answer a bullshit notice IS.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 12:33pm

        Re: Re:

        "Perhaps YOUR time isn't worth anything. However, the time of the person who has to answer a bullshit notice IS."

        Says the 15th person to answer to Whatever's bullshit.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 1:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You're comparing 3 sentence comment to answering a DMCA notice.

          So yeah, SO SAYS the 15th person to answer Whatever's bullshit, to the person whose time must be equally worthless, since he/she took the time to point it out.

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    • icon
      TimothyAWiseman (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 1:08pm

      Re:

      I'm afraid it is not that simple. First, the artists probably do not have the authority to give those rights. Depending on their contracts and licenses, it is more likely that the labels have the legal authority grant the rights for others to make those works.

      Second, even if the artists could and did give him the right to create these derivative works, answering the DMCA notice is not the simplest thing in the world and could increase his chance of being sued (or at least increase his perceived chance of getting sued).

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 4:46pm

      Re:

      1) Bullshit. Repeat malicious takedowns are a routine occurrence on YouTube. There's no tangible penalty for the abuser and huge penalties for the victim.
      2) The takedown shouldn't have happened in the first place.

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    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:53pm

      Re:

      Answer the takedown notice, and everything should clear up.

      Yeah, right. And the fact that people don't actually get punished for issuing false takedowns is no biggy at all.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:51am

    Took me a while to link the headline of this article and the article contents but once I reached the end it magically connected. Holy fleeks, Mike should... Intellectualize the term he coined (Streisand effect). I'm not sure if copyright, patent, trademark or black voodoo but have it 'protected' to provide your great great great grandchildren with means to live.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:53am

    Copyright law is racist?

    Is there anything or anyone that isn't racist these days?

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

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 10:34am

      Re: Copyright law is racist?

      Plenty of things. In most cases these days, if you dig beyond knee-jerk cries of "RACISM!!!" by attention whores and political opportunists, you'll find one of two things: a system set up to disadvantage and discriminate against pretty much everyone, reaching well beyond whichever minority the group that happens to notice first and thinks they're being targeted represents--as in the case presented here--or a person trying to hide actual, serious wrongdoing behind a narrative of victimhood and persecution. (The second form takes plenty of other forms as well. Bill Clinton's infamous "vast right-wing conspiracy" immediately comes to mind. Same basic principle, though.)

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 1:40pm

        Re: Re: Copyright law is racist?

        a system set up to disadvantage and discriminate against pretty much everyone,

        If it affects everyone then by definition it is not discrimination.

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 1:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: Copyright law is racist?

          To be more clear, I'm talking about a system designed to disadvantage and discriminate against everyone except the people who run the system. The US financial system as presently constituted, for example.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:15am

      Re: Copyright law is racist?

      "Is there anything or anyone that isn't racist these days?"

      Is a rock racist?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2016 @ 3:02am

      Re: Copyright law is racist?

      supposedly if you are not white it is impossible to be racist /s

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 9:55am

    It is a good thing language isn't copyrighted

    It is a good thing that language isn't copyrighted or she couldn't have used any of the rest of words in the sentence. Did she consider paying the inventor of those words?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2016 @ 5:26am

      Re: It is a good thing language isn't copyrighted

      That is what trademarks are for.

      I should note that there IS a public benefit from unique namespace. Primarily it is reflected in reduced indexing time, but not always.

      The issue of the OP really isn't unique ownership, so much as the states slight of hand used to justify completely arbitrary decisions about it.

      The confusion derives mostly from corporate personhood rather than the nature of composition. Corporations should license things, not own them. They aren't people. Never were. The dictionary act of 1871 violated the intent of the titles of nobility clause of article 1 section 9 by endowing cumulative sovereign rights to non-state agents. And while at the time, it may have been trivial, it has grown up into a mountain of bad precedent that needs to be refactored.

      Note that Justice Sotomoyor bated the question of corporate personhood during the Citizens United case. The FEC side stepped instead of taking up the argument. That move made me seriously question the FEC's intent.

      Overturn Citizens United. Reinstate Glass Steagall. Bust the Trusts.

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

  • identicon
    A Non-Mouse, 28 Jan 2016 @ 10:06am

    "...copyright law prohibits copyright protection for raw ideas,” Greene wrote."

    An idea does not need copyright protection because an idea exists only in your mind. As such, it cannot be copied and needs no such protection.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 10:23am

    'The Shittiness Of IP Law Has Taught The Public That Everything Is Stealing And Everyone Is Owed Something'

    until it comes to the those cases where the IP users owe something to the public, then IP law and every other law that doesn't suit goes right out the window!!

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  • icon
    Blaine (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 10:30am

    South Park already covered this story.

    Someone send these people their "10 Million Theoretical Dollars."

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 29 Jan 2016 @ 5:44am

      Re:

      I will. Theoretically. It'll only work if they have a NayPal* account.

      -------------------------------------------------------

      *No way, pal!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:12am

    Once again, if someone truly owns a piece of culture and can prevent others from using/remixing/parodying/repeating/etc it, then it isn't actually a piece of culture, and it's not of any use to anyone.

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

  • icon
    Mike Shore (profile), 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:14am

    There are two types of people

    1) Those who do not understand IP law
    2) Those who do not respect IP law

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:31am

    Dearest of Timothies,

    Your big mistake in this article is using the term cultural appropriation as if it's a thing that exists. It does not. Culture cannot be owned, no matter how black, lesbian, single mother of 2, or helicopter-kin the claimant may be.

    When you allow made up bullshit such as "cultural appropriation" into your language, you allow the idiocy that created it into your thoughts. Don't be that guy.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 11:44am

    >It's not just black artists, though. It's all artists.

    I'm not even going to touch the comparisons to this with a 10 foot pole.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 1:10pm

    Sweet Brown

    Aint' nobody got time for this!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 2:11pm

    Fix the root cause of the problem...

    Abolish copyright.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 2:58pm

    There is a point there but it was said in the ending sections of the article. The examples used in the beginning were bad. This isn't a black or white thing. Corporations using slang just appear stupid and comical. Fighting an unjust take down is unneedlessly ardurous, by design.

    I know people who believe flour, milk and water are copyrighted and they own reciepes. That is the way the copyright media education has driven their message. There is no concept of anything outside of the closed bubble that everything is owned. It's hard to explain existance beyond that sphere exists. I feel like I'm describing the color red to a blind person.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jan 2016 @ 3:38pm

    The greatest tragedy of copyright the damage it does to the human will.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2016 @ 2:58am

    Mostly seems like the big companies that are engaged in ip theft of the public's works. Or charging fees on content they knowingly do not own but pretend they do and threaten violence and or lawsuits to make their victims comply with their protection fees.

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

  • identicon
    michael, 29 Jan 2016 @ 11:48am

    2 opposite ideas

    It's strange that Cushing doesn't point out (that I saw, anyway) that St. Felix is making 2 suggestions that can't work together.

    1) Allow people to use songs in their videos as they wish, and
    2) Lock down language so that the first to use a word makes money on it.

    Either you want the freedom and cultural enrichment that comes with sane IP laws, or you want everyone to pay for everything they say, tweet, or use in a video.

    St. Felix can't have it both ways.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2016 @ 1:02pm

    Copyright law is a zero-sum game trying co-opt a non-zero-sume game. It will lose eventually, but it will make a big mess in the meantime.

    Dude's dancing is the intended message of the piece. Yes, doesn't work without music. Is clearly a fair use though since it is significantly transformative. (Would you watch anybody else's dancing and be as entertained, would you just listen to the music?)

    You can say IP law screws all artists equally, but that's not actually true. IP law particularly screws artists who believe in playing non-zero-sum games. In other words, the music benefits the guy dancing, the guy dancing benefits the music. Nobody is harmed.

    Similarly, IP law has summarily made commercial hip-hop impractical at best to pursue as a sample-based art form. (See follow-on of songwriting credit as applied to samples https://www.dukeupress.edu/creative-license .) The appropriation and exploitation of traditional song by enfranchised powers is pretty well-documented.

    A lot of blues and rock is based on traditional song (non-zero-sum cultural expression) which is then co-opted by copyright by an individual or organization. Judging by the popularity of rock music and the amount it propagates zero-sum memes (such as IP law), it seems to me that commons, and in particular black culture commons have been disproportionately exploited.

    You can say all lives matter, but in the current cultural climate, it is more important to say that black lives matter.

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


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