by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 19th 2012 1:57pm
Wed, Aug 15th 2012 12:25am
from the jazz-pickles dept
Over at the Bizzaro Blog, home to Dan Piraro's Bizzaro Comic, Piraro writes about a recent incident he had over one of his recently published comics.
Here's a bit of a sticky wicket I thought you Jazz Pickles might find interesting. After my pantsless doctor cartoon appeared in papers the other day I got an email from my friend and colleague, Dan Reynolds. Dan is a terrifically talented and successful cartoonist whose work I have always admired. It seems my doctor cartoon is uncomfortably close to a very popular one that he did some years ago.In most similar situations we report on here, this is the part where the person complaining usually sends a legal threat of some sort. But that is not what happened. What happened was something refreshing and quite out of the norm, at least in these circles. Both artists realized that people can come up with the same joke independently and then brushed the incident off.
Did I steal this cartoon? Of course not and Dan did not accuse me of it. Cartoonists with a large readership and an I.Q. above 75 (me) are not foolish enough to publish a stolen cartoon, especially from someone with an equally large readership (Dan R.).What amazes me here is that two grown adults actually acted like adults. Why can't we have more of these kinds of interactions? Even when the idea was almost identical, both were able to look past that and see the reality of the situation.
Oh well, these things happen. Dan R. was a gentlemen about it and readily accepted our apology. We're all still friends. :o)
In response to the unfortunate incident, Piraro has decided to take a bit more precaution in the future. He has decided to do Google image searches of future ideas, just to make sure that he doesn't step on the toes of anyone else. However, he recognizes that even that plan has a glaring weakness.
Cliff and I work together frequently so we committed to redouble our efforts to Google-Image-search all of our ideas to make sure no one else had gotten there first. The thing is, though, we decided to retro-search this one and could not find it under any of the titles we could think of. “Backwards Doctor Coat Cartoon” was our most obvious choice but Dan’s cartoon didn’t show up in that search. So we still would have been screwed.So even if he does a search, there are no guarantees that someone else's work would come up which matches his idea. Under these circumstances, how much effort should one allow? I would say that even doing the initial search is probably more than enough. It is more than you are actually required to do. Yet, there are some people out there that seem to think that is not enough -- that a person in Piraro's situation should have just known about that other comic. But as Piraro has shown, it is just not possible to cover all your bases.
All in all, this is a great experience for all the things it can teach us. 1) Acting like adults when a situation arises results in mutually beneficial results. 2) Recognizing that no joke is a unique flower incapable of being copied unintentionally is a wise move. 3) That even the best Google-fu cannot prevent you from unintentionally copying someone else's joke. Sounds like some pretty good lessons to me.
by Nina Paley
Tue, Apr 26th 2011 10:09am
from the problems-with-permission-culture dept
Please don’t ask my permission to re-use my work. YOU ALREADY HAVE PERMISSION. Please copy, share, re-use, redistribute, edit, modify, sell, etc.
Asking permission wastes your time, and mine. You might not mind wasting your time. Many people think asking for permission is a “sign of respect.” But what about my time?
Information (including all of my work) is not scarce. Attention (time) is.
Emails get lost in spam filters. They get lost amid the hundreds of other emails in my inbox. I’ve been known to take vacations and actually get away from my computer for a few days – something I should be doing more often. So what happens if you don’t get any response to your permission request? Do you not reuse the work? A work that has been explicitly made Free, in the hope that you will reuse it? Not reusing the work harms the work, and harming a work is disrespectful. Delaying reusing the work likewise harms the work, in smaller increments.
Suppose a “respectful” email asking for permission which has already been explicitly granted doesn’t get caught in a spam filter or lost in some other glitch. Suppose it actualy makes it into my inbox. Now I am obligated to respond – the requester essentially said, “I’m not going to use this work unless you respond.” As “respectful” as this sounds, it places an unfair burden on me. The work, and any use of the work, should not be held hostage pending my checking and responding to email.
It is not “respectful” to make me do more, unnecessary work.
More importantly, asking permission is bad for the work itself. If you refuse to reuse the work unless I send you an email, you are blocking an expression or distribution of the work. How many days or weeks or months are you willing to put it off pending my ability to process email? Or worse, someone thinks it’s “respectful” to require me to sign papers and mail them back. Yes, this happens. I have such paperwork sitting right here, telling me that unless I sign it and mail it back, they won’t use the work they already have explicit permission to use. How is it “respectful” to make me jump through more hoops before they redistribute or remix a work I’ve made explicitly Free?
If you want to show respect, please send me something like this instead:
I thought you might like to know I’ve reused _________________ in _________________. Check it out at (insert URL here). Thanks for making the work Free!
Someone Who Understands Yes means Yes
Ahh, lovely. Thank you!
A complaint I hear often is that nowadays, thanks to the inerwebs, not only do artists “have to give their work away for free” but they also “have to be businessmen.” HA! One goal of freeing my work is to free me of paperwork, contracts, and the role of manager – and what is having to oversee and administrate every re-use but management? In the “Intellectual Property” model, artists either have to do much more negotiating and managing and paperwork, or they have to pay someone else to do it for them. They have to be businessmen, or hire businessmen. And hiring businessmen (agents, lawyers, etc.) still requires much paperwork, negotiating, and contracts.
Some still insist that I’ve “maintained more control” over Sita Sings the Blues. The point is I have maintained no control over it, and that benefits me. The point is I don’t have to be a business(wo)man. The point is that other people, the crowd, distribute the work, and cost me nothing.
As long as they don’t ask for permission.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 15th 2011 2:34am
from the good-for-him dept
While there was some talk of forcing him to step down before the awards (Spanish Academy members claimed it was improper of him to actually talk to people on Twitter), it appears they let him go through with it, and he gave a speech where he reminded the attendees of the need to respect consumers and not treat them as criminals. Among the attendees was Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, who isn't just a supporter of the new copyright law, but for whom it's named after. The translated condensed version of his speech is well worth reading.
"The Internet isn't the future; it's the present and the way for hundreds of thousands of people to enjoy movies and culture. The Internet is the salvation of our cinema."As for treating people like criminals?
"Web surfers don't like to be called that; they're actually people, the public. The public that we have lost because they don't go to the movies anymore because they spend their time sitting in front of a computer screen. Change is needed to come up with a new model for the film business. We have a moral responsibility to the public. We make movies because citizens allow us to make them and we owe them respect and our thank you."And further on the subject of respecting the fans:
"We must be up to this privilege that society offers us. If we want them to respect us, we must respect them first."
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 23rd 2010 2:50pm
from the it's-all-about-respect dept
there is the question of public perceptions as to the value and fairness of the agreement. A perception that it is fair as between stakeholders is important to IP law, which it is not readily self-enforcing. By this I mean that IP law requires people to self-consciously refrain from behaviours that are common, easy, and enjoyable: infringement is so easy to do and observing IP rights, particularly copyright, involves, particularly these days, some self-denial. IP law therefore needs support from the public in order to be effective, and in order to receive any such support IP law needs to address the needs of all stakeholders. 135 Treaties that strengthen enforcement without addressing the needs of users look unfair and will bring IP law further into disrepute.This is a key point that gets ignored in all of this. When you negotiate agreements like ACTA in secret, leaving out key stakeholders, it should come as no surprise when those same people feel no compulsion to respect the agreement. They were left out of the discussion and so, in their minds, such an agreement should not hold any weight.
What this means, of course, is that the very awful process by which ACTA was put together may actually serve to create the exact opposite scenario that the drafters hoped to create. Rather than strengthening the power of copyright law around the globe, ACTA has only served to increase the lack of respect for copyright law, as the process by which it was put together has been shown to not be deserving of any respect, in that it failed to take into account the interests of most of the people it would impact.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 12th 2010 4:00pm
from the respect-your-audience dept
The full text vs. partial text debate is flaring up again as Gawker Media has just shifted all its blogs to partial feed blogs. From my standpoint, this makes it significantly less likely that I'll link to them, because I'm less likely to actually read through their posts to see if they're worthwhile. I'll stay subscribed, but whereas in the past I might read through an entire post before deciding it was worth writing about, now I'll only have a snippet to make that decision -- and that makes it that much less likely that I'll find their posts worth linking to. And that seems like a mistake.
Matt McAllister from The Guardian responded to Felix Salmon's blog post (the one linked above), and noted that when The Guardian moved to full text RSS feeds they saw their web traffic go up significantly. Admittedly, there may be other factors involved here, but it's yet another data point in favor of being open and making it easier for your audience and your community to engage.
What I think both this and the whole ad blocking discussion come down to is a question of how different sites look at and treat their audiences. If they feel they need to take a short-term view and "monetize" every interaction with them, or if they realize that there's a long-term value in building up a strong and loyal relationship. It's also quite similar to the constant debates over the music industry -- where the music industry feels that it wants to get paid pennies every time you hear a song. That's the short-term "we have to monetize every use" view, compared to the longer term view, which recognizes that free songs and building up a relationship between the fans and the musicians can lead to something much more lucrative that benefits everyone.
But the key point is made by Salmon in his blog post about this. Others like to accuse Salmon and myself of supporting things like full text RSS feeds, letting people use ad blockers and being against paywalls as "a sense of entitlement." Of course, since I'm on the publishing side of things, I don't see how that actually applies to me since I'm defending the rights of the community of readers over short-sited publisher decisions. But the real reason why we think these (well, for RSS and paywalls -- I don't know Salmon's view on ad blocking) things are important to understand is that taking the simplistic view of trying to maximize short-term monetization is a bad business decision in the long term:
At heart, my argument for full RSS feeds is similar to my argument against a NYT paywall, and neither argument has anything to do with a sense of entitlement on my part. Instead, both are simply bad business decisions. If you truncate your RSS feeds, you'll get less traffic than you had with full feeds, and you'll alienate an important minority of your audience. And if you implement a paywall, the increase in subscription revenues will fail to offset the decrease in ad revenues, even as you'll alienate lots of your audience. So neither makes commercial sense.Exactly. All of these are decisions that don't take into account the bigger picture or understand the overall dynamic of a community. They assume that each transaction is a single impact: if this user doesn't "pay" a site now, it's "lost revenue." But it doesn't take into account that that user might "pay" in other means -- via a comment or by passing it along to others. And what if that individual is influential and passes it on to a lot of people? It blocking off that possibility because that individual doesn't "pay" by ad or paywall seems incredibly short sighted and quite disrespectful of a community.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Apr 20th 2009 12:15pm
from the please,-thank-you dept
HI. I'm Louis CK. Can you please take this down? This show is a work in progress and was not intended to be passed around the internet. I have absolutely no problem, personally, with file sharing, and if you take everythign I have on the market on DVD, CD, and put it up for free downloading, I don't care. But this is an artistic and personal request. Please take this torrent down. thanks.Following that, the guy who uploaded the torrent complied:
Sorry Mr. CK, I have taken down the direct downloads and asked Mininova and ViPeers to remove the torrent. I thought you would have preferred the reverse, your live concerts in ****ty audio quality would be ok, especially for what you said about NBC taking down your Late Night appearance, and your high quality DVDs and stuff wouldn't be ok since you need ***** for that stuff. I sincerely apologize for the torrent and the misunderstanding.And people say that those putting up torrent files don't respect artists?
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 3rd 2009 11:21am
from the this-is-getting-tiresome dept
This time around, it's Neil Young, who has taken to his own website to claim that he and Warner Music aren't getting the proper respect from YouTube, and that YouTube needs to pay up to provide that proper respect. And what about all the musicians who Warner Music's policy is harming right now? What about all those musicians whose fans are pissed off that they can't see videos with the music they like? The problem isn't that YouTube isn't respecting Warner Music -- it has no legal obligation to do so. The problem is that folks like Neil Young and the execs at Warner Music don't respect their fans at all, and fail to realize they want to access their music through YouTube, and doing so provides those musicians with a great benefit in terms of better connecting with their fans and opening up new opportunities to create valuable relationships that will pay much more money in the long run.
In the meantime, when you look at the actual statement on Neil Young's site, it seems like a a pretty blatant copy of the NY Times. We're guessing he didn't pay the NY Times anything. So why isn't anyone demanding that Neil Young "respect" the NY Times?