Upcoming Comic Book By Law Professors Compares ACTA To 1984

from the have-fun-with-it dept

Thanks to James Boyle, I have a lovely paper copy of Bound by Law on my office bookshelf. It’s a comic book/graphic novel put together by three law professors to explain the public domain and the importance of fair use. I knew they’d been working on a new graphic novel as well, and SF Gate recently revealed some details about the new comic, to be called Theft: A History of Music, and revealing a nice graphic image to give you an idea of what it’s about, including a comparison between 1984 and ACTA (click through to see a much larger version):


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Comments on “Upcoming Comic Book By Law Professors Compares ACTA To 1984”

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R. Milessays:


Here’s a group talking about fair use and the first damn thing they do is throw out restrictive copyrights under “creative commons”.

Well, that certainly was a waste of my 3 minutes.

Why are people under the impression creative commons is applicable under law?

Stop trying to confuse people. CC does not replace copyright and the artist CAN NOT circumvent federal law.

You can say people can create derivative works all you want, but this still doesn’t mean people can do it.

FIX the problem or don’t bother trying.

First step to fixing the problem: artists don’t have “rights” to distribute. That’s OUR role provided we value what you create. I get we don’t get to earn money from it, but this “IT’S MINE!” attitude blows worse than the law.


Why bother trying. Nothing’s going to change.


Re: Re: Hypocrites

Wait, what? The ARTIST says that people can create derivative works, how is that circumventing federal law? Who’s going to sue if you take them up on the offer? Or are you just trying to confuse the issues? The artist can do whatever the hell they want, including just dropping their work into the public domain.

R. Milessays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Hypocrites

The artist can do whatever the hell they want, including just dropping their work into the public domain.
No, they can’t. Existing copyright law prevents this.

This book obviously needs to be re-written to fix this damn misconception.

To put works into the public domain, one must file such works accordingly. Just saying it doesn’t make it magically happen.

And for the record, you can bet your ass I’m not taking anyone’s “word” over what I can and can not do, especially by those who think just granting “permission” via a “creative common license” is acceptable.

Let’s see how CC stands up to Copyright Law in court when such works in CC weren’t registered. Sort of how copyright lawsuits can’t be filed until those same works are filed.

don’t you think that the creators of creative commons would be behind bars with a fine that would make the US national debt look like chump change if it was illegal?
I didn’t say CC was illegal. I said it’s misleading people to believe its purpose overrides copyright.

When an artist comes off as “granting” public rights use all the while coming off with the “These are MY works” comes off as a hypocrite.

If the works belong to the artist, then the artist should keep them out of the public.

Because the public, especially if they enjoy the works, will clearly show who really is in control and it certainly won’t be the artist.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hypocrites

‘don’t you think that the creators of creative commons would be behind bars with a fine that would make the US national debt look like chump change if it was illegal?’

And I didn’t say this. I don’t even know where you got this, but the creators certainly aren’t breaking any law by granting limited licenses.

Show me where copyright law DENIES artists the right to put their works in the public domain or DENIES them the right to give others license to do what they wish with their works. Otherwise you’re blowing smoke up my ass.

Sean T Henrysays:

Re: Re: Hypocrites

The creator binds them self by a contract under CC that they must uphold and any one who perticipates is to be bound by the implied contract therein. If the creator tries to sue someone who uses the work in a way that agrees with CC then the creator opens them self to a possible lawsuit due to breach of contract.

"Balance" again...

Once again the issue is framed as finding a “balance” between two extremes – with Freedom being as undesirable an extreme as Orwellian totalitarianism. I wish I could embed comics in the comments here, but since I can’t, please look at this Mimi & Eunice cartoon about “balance” – it’ll be worth your 15 seconds.

R. Milessays:

Re: Re: "Balance" again...

“Once again the issue is framed as finding a “balance” between two extremes.”

I saw the comic, but I don’t see the “extreme” (let’s remove the element of lawyers “needing” paychecks over copyright).

I’d like to hear why artists believe the public “taking” their works is a violation of their rights. It’s as though this statement says “Uh, my money comes before your enjoyment of the works I create for you”.

I don’t believe the public sees it this way at all, but I’m finding it very difficult when artists don’t stand up against copyright law changes or idiotic bills like the one Leahy proposed.

The only time I saw artists stand up is when they noticed the “work for hire” sneak or that ASCAP are ASSES.

So why don’t artists stand up against copyright law? DMCA?

It’s getting pretty difficult to see the black & white line of rights vs. enjoyment/free expression vs. capitalism.

Everything was just fine until one day, a few people sat up and took notice that these multi-million dollar ventures didn’t get this way without their help, so now they want a piece of the pie.

Personally, I’m starting to believe we need many more “Work for hire” clauses so we can get rid of this misplaced attitude which is the entire reason why copyright law exists in the first place.

Until artists stand up against these issues they secretly covet, the longer they remain issues.

That’s the “extreme” reality of the situation.

R. Milessays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Balance" again...

No dispute there. I applaud Nina’s efforts to try and educate the issues at hand. I also love her little strips myself. I also enjoyed her video.

Unfortunately, one can’t use CC licenses and not come off as anti-control while discussing copyright.

It’s hypocritical at the very least.

So, yes, while I applaud her efforts, I also see her as a hypocrite standing behind a “nicer” (?) form of copyright control.

Hence the balance issue she relates.

Now I hope she doesn’t get mad at me. 🙁

Any Mousesays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: "Balance" again...

“Unfortunately, one can’t use CC licenses and not come off as anti-control while discussing copyright.”

Wait, how does that work? Do you understand CC licenses at all? CC is all about finer control. There are several different CC licenses, offering varying degrees of control over one’s own work. So, please, explain how this comes off as anti-control.

Not sarcasm, I seriously want to know your thoughts on this.

R. Milessays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Balance" again...

“So, please, explain how this comes off as anti-control.”
Simply put: A CC license is still a control of the works.

“Free to distribute/non-commercial use” is a common one.

Seems pretty controlling to me. What happens if someone puts Nina’s strip on a website that’s generating ad-revenue so they can run their website?

If she has an issue with it, you can bet she’ll be using copyright law as her weapon of choice while their “CC protection” gets obliterated.

I’ve been trying to find links to a case in this exact scenario filed last year, but I’m turning up dust.
(the gist: the artist used a CC license but when suing the “infringing” party, filed the copyright without public domain which instantly invalidates the CC license)

Pretty bad when I can’t even defend my own argument with the example.

Doesn’t matter, I suppose. Copyright lawyers know.

One more snippet directly from the CC website:
“Until 1976, creative works were not protected by U.S. copyright law unless their authors took the trouble to publish a copyright notice along with them. Works not affixed with a notice passed into the public domain. Following legislative changes in 1976 and 1988, creative works are now automatically copyrighted.”

Note how the change REMOVED public domain by default.

Want to bet the majority of artists using CC licenses don’t register file with the copyright office with public domain?

That’s because the second they do, they lose their control.

Pretty straight forward information.

Hope this helped.

Any Mousesays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Balance" again...

Well, no, not really. You said ‘and not come off as anti-control,’ which says that they are against control, which is wrong. I’ve yet to see someone using a CC license that says they are against control over their copyright. That’s where my confusion came in.

I’m not sure how your argument works, here, since a CC license is a contract allowing others to use your work, and if you go back on that, they still have means of repair via contract law. You keep bringing up public domain and registration as if someone other than the artist can bring suit, as well.

Re: Re: Re: Re: "Balance" again...

I didn’t think it was possible to misread that comic, but apparently you did.

The comic makes fun of “balance”. There is no balance in copyright. Copyright works AGAINST the interests of artists and the public. Normally it’s posited as something that “balances” artists with the public, as though they’re on opposite sides. The comic implies that’s a fallacy, and that the interests of “balanced copyright” (or any copyright) are neither artists’ nor the public’s.

You really have chosen an odd target to rant against.

R. Milessays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Balance" again...

There is no balance in copyright. Copyright works AGAINST the interests of artists and the public.
Oh, believe me, I got the point of the comic.

You say there is no balance in copyright. Please explain why you don’t see this.

Copyright serves only one purpose: to support the financial revenues of those who own the license of creative works.

The only time copyright comes into play is when there’s a financial issue at hand. Show me DMCA takedown used under copyright and I’ll show you the money trail.

Let’s use you as an example, because you’re an artist. If you make something, and you don’t plan on making money from it, would you really care if someone else earns money from your works as long as your name is attached?

If you don’t, then copyright is balanced.

It is only when those “infringed” works are interfering with revenue that it becomes “unbalanced”, usually not favoring the “infringing” party.

Feel free to correct my position if you believe it’s inaccurate.

Marcus Carabsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: "Balance" again...

Let’s use you as an example, because you’re an artist. If you make something, and you don’t plan on making money from it, would you really care if someone else earns money from your works as long as your name is attached?

If you don’t, then copyright is balanced.

I am really not sure how any of that makes sense…

Josh Taylorsays:

The comic agreed with me. Thank you James Boyle.

And now a dramatization.

ACTA: Little Miss Abigail Taylor, you have copied a cartoon character off a TV show. You have also sang a copyrighted children’s lyric, and finally you have also took note off a textbook. That’s 3-strikes. For your punishment, proceed to Room 1201.

Mom: No, please. My daughter didn’t know what she did.

ACTA: Yeah, right. We saw it on our surveillance cameras we have installed in your house. Now you’re next, you have shared a secret chicken recipe to your neighbors that is copyrighted by someone else, you have recorded a soap opera on your DVR, you also have printed out a copyrighted news article. That’s also 3 strikes against you. You will now join your daughter for your punishment in Room 1201.

Mom: No!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ACTA: Next.

acta, etc.

another comic about copyright? Hot damn, they’re FINALLY sinking to the right level.

balanced copyright? Public domain? free speech?

Buy the union label. public domain IS the web problem.
free speech is a function of how much effort you want to put into it.

— clip from another email i shoulda forwarded here.—
from we the radical types…
A brief summary of copyright actions lately.

a billion dollar spam award in quebec.

well, well, well…

1:the web: privacy, property and freedom of information.

2:the politics: the evolution of property from monopoly to interest (rights to interest)

3: the economy: the new corporate-interest (reg. capture) in action

SO.. we the radical types are betting that spam gets to be a privileged-preserve of the elite, NOT a personal liberty,freedom or prerogative.

With VERY selective entry requirements, both public, regulatory and ownership.

The web was used to squash radical politics, open markets, and now is starting in on biz competition…. or personal freedoms?

pat donovan

PS: get real, e-people. Anyone who doesn’t consider the current copyright issues
to be applied death-by-redtape worm and papercuts is a loon.

Have you even SEEN the idiocy stateside?


by me it’s almost ALL bad law.


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