Saturday, February 2, 2008

Copyright law should distinguish between commercial and cultural uses

This is an excellent article from the Guardian on how copyright law needs to be changed, and more specifically, how there needs to be a distinction between commercial copyright and cultural copyright. By cultural copyright today, the writer means things like fan fiction and someone putting a slide show of family pictures to a song on Youtube.

I have heard of utterly ridiculous things being done by these corporations to stop "violations" of copyright. For example, telling a pre-school that painted Disney characters on the side of the building that they had to paint over it because Disney owns them. Or "Happy Birthday" not being recited in public places because AOL/Time Warner owns the copyright. In the late 90s, I remember Fox being pretty zealous about its properties, sending cease-and-desist letters to Simpsons fan websites and someone who made a Mod for the "Doom" game with Aliens.

To me, there is a significant difference between someone storing movies on an Internet server and someone who expresses his or her love for a creative work (whether copyrighted or not) by writing a story or making a tribute video. The former should be held legally accountable, and the latter should be left alone.

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