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One of the most notorious cases of copyright omission happened in connection with a little show called Star Trek— another NBC series, but this one a production of Desilu Studios. When originally telecast during the 1966-67 TV season, the entire first season’s voyages of the starship Enterprise aired without a single indication of copyright anywhere in the program.
It wasn’t until years later — and after Star Trek had metamorphosed from a short-lived cult TV show into a cultural phenomenon and highly prized commodity — that the copyright lapse even drew any attention. It was at the time of the advent of home video, when a number of small mom-and-pop outfits, believing that first year of Star Trekto be in the public domain, began selling copies of the episodes on videocassette.
Paramount, which had inherited the Star Trek franchise and produced the remaining two years of the series and all of its spin-offs after parent company Gulf + Western purchased Desilu in 1967, sought to regain exclusive rights to the first season by mounting a legal challenge to the little nickel-and-dime distributors that were circulating those first 26 episodes.
The upshot? Based on its existing copyrights on all subsequent Star Trek properties, Paramount won the right to retroactively copyright the entire first season of Star Trek, in the process, successfully suing all of those little companies — the ones that thought they were in the clear selling public domain shows — right out of business."
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1XVoZRY at November 06, 2015 at 06:00PM
Well not exactly. What Lucas first said was: “You are prohibited from creating any fanworks”. But if you do create, we own it. So there.”
More about the Star Wars Fan Homepages Protest can be found on Fanlore, the fan run wiki about media fandom.
An excerpt from the Protest:
“What’s the big deal?
On March 8, 2000, the Official Star Wars Website began hosting fans’ homepages, offering attractive features like 16 megabytes of web space, dynamic content, an official URL (fan.starwars.com), and a sweepstakes. They cite a desire to encourage fan creativity. But in their Terms of Service, which all users must agree to, they expressly forbid derivative creative works and take ownership of fans’ intellectual property, particularly “derivative works,” despite the fact that any Star Wars-related fan creativity is inherently a “derivative work.”….
The Terms of Service (section 8.4) states, “The creation of derivative works based on or derived from the Star Wars Properties, including, but not limited to, products, services, fonts, icons, link buttons, wallpaper, desktop themes, on-line postcards and greeting cards and unlicensed merchandise (whether sold, bartered or given away) is expressly prohibited. If despite these Terms of Service you do create any derivative works based on or derived from the Star Wars Properties, such derivative works shall be deemed and shall remain the property of Lucasfilm Ltd. in perpetuity (note: that means forever).
It is my, and many other fans’, strong belief that offering fans homepages and then claiming anything posted on that web space as the intellectual property of Lucasfilm, Ltd. "in perpetuity” amounts to a tactic being used by Lucasfilm to fight their ongoing trademark and copyright war against fans by luring fans into their territory and taking over explicit legal ownership of anything they display there. It is also my belief that this is a grave and devious disservice to fans.”
Fan Video & Multimedia is once again working with our Legal Committee as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to petition for a DMCA exemption granting vidders, AMV makers, and other creators of noncommercial remix video the right to break copy protection on media files. In 2010, we won the right to rip DVDs; in 2012, we got that exemption renewed and expanded to include digital downloads (iTunes, Amazon Unbox, etc.). In 2015, we’ll be pushing to add Blu-Ray. Right now we’re in the data-gathering stage: asking fan video makers to talk with us about how they get Blu-Ray source and why Blu-Ray is important.(thanks to giandujakiss for the heads up)
The exemption will expire if not renewed! The big copyright industries fought really hard last time, and renewal is not a foregone conclusion, even though we’re still right. As always we need (1) examples of vids that make a critical commentary on the original source, particularly examples from the past 3 years, as well as (2) vids that need very high quality source, in technical terms, to do what they do. With Blu-Ray, we need (3) explanations of how getting Blu-Ray source can be done, so we can educate the Copyright Office, and (4) explanations for why Blu-Ray source is important.
If you can help with any of these, please let email@example.com know!
Contact your lawmakers and tell them how disappointing it is to you that the nation's highest court has issued a decision that could take away your right to use a cloud-based antenna to access live over-the-air broadcast television.
The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over-the-air programming belongs to the American public and you should have a right to access that programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television, or in the cloud.
Ask your elected officials to take action to protect your right use an antenna to access live free-to-air broadcasts, including a modern antenna located in the cloud."
In short: Right now, the change isn't affecting already uploaded videos. It'll affect videos being uploaded to the site as of recent. So if you uploaded something prior to today, Vimeo isn't going to make you change or delete anything with copyrighted images and/or music yet. But if you try to upload a video today with copyrighted images and/or music, there's a strong possibility it might get flagged, and it might be an uphill battle to get it deemed "fair use" so it can stay on the site.
I don't trust Vimeo to host my old fan vids any longer before they come for them. From now on, until/unless Tumblr's policy changes, I'll host my videos on Tumblr instead."
edited to add a note about vidders.net. I have not used or tested them extensively so cannot comment about the quality or reliability. You can can check out vidders.net yourself - they offer up to 5 vids for free. For more than 5 vids they offer a subscription model.
From their FAQ
|1) Is this a free site or is this a paid site?|
|It is both. Viewers who enjoy watching vids can join for free and watch all the vids they want and get updates of new vids related to their favorite fandoms or vidder or even musical artist. Vidders can join and upload up to 5 videos for free and try out the site. If a vidder would like to upload more we are asking they contribute $20/year /$2/month to help offset the storage cost & support the running of the site. We think is a very reasonable for what this site offers and will be offering in the future.|
|Also, if you are a viewer you can support the site by sponsoring a Vidder whose work you'd like to support who may not be able to afford a membership|
|New - If you have Paypal we will credit you $10 for every member you invite who subscribes. Invite 2 people who subscribe and your membership is paid for - invite more and you are making money!|
“The Organization for Transformative Works was founded six years ago, because fans realized that owning the means of circulating and distributing fanworks—the servers, the interface, the code, the terms of service—would be essential to the long-term health of fan creativity, and so we created the nonprofit, donor-supported Archive of Our Own. Today, when I talk about the importance of fan writing, I don’t just mean fiction and nonfiction: I mean contracts and code. In the old days, fans self-published their fiction (and put it under copyright, asserting their ownership in their words), they distributed their own VHS cassettes and digital downloads, and they coded and built their own websites and created their own terms of service. Today, enormous commercial entities—YouTube, Amazon, LiveJournal, Wattpad, Tumblr—own much of this infrastructure.
This is a very mixed bag. On the one hand, these companies’ products and interfaces have made it infinitely easier for the average fan to connect with other fans and distribute fanworks. Now you only need a username and a password to get started, where before you needed access to server space, a knowledge of HTML, how to use FTP, and so on. However, there are also various dangers, including not only capricious or exploitative terms of service but simple market failure. None of the companies I just listed has anything like the track record of the average fandom or fannish institution; consider how much younger they are than Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, or even Supernatural fandom. In the best case, these companies may fail and become a disruptive force in relatively stable and long-term communities; in the worst case, they may exploit and betray their users.
In the past few years, the nature of the arguments I have been having as a fandom advocate has changed: In the past, I found myself arguing for the legitimacy of our works; now, I find myself arguing against their exploitation. The commercial ownership of the infrastructure means that money has now complicated fandom’s gift culture, and, like it or not, we now have to think about who should benefit. Here, too, there is a spectrum: Some grassroots creators don’t want to engage with the commercial world on any terms (and they should have the right not to); others feel that if someone is profiting from their works, it should be them, and it should be a fair compensation. If the relationship between fans and the commercial world is being renegotiated, we’re going to have to apply some of our creative energies to writing contracts as well as fanfiction, rather than let unfavorable or disrespectful terms of authorship be handed down to us by corporate owners.”
|—||From: Why The Copyright Industry Is Doomed, In One Single Sentence|
The brief also urges the Court to clarify that the sender of a takedown notice is required make reasonable determinations about the law. In other words, if a copyright holder is going to claim someone violates copyright law, it should first have some idea of what qualifies as a violation. Too often, we have seen copyright owners send takedown notices informed by only the vaguest notion of what actually qualifies as infringement. As we explain:
A law that grants a private actor the power to do what even a court cannot—cause the prior restraint of speech based on a purely ex parte review—alters not only the traditional contours of copyright protection but of our fundamental free speech doctrines. Such a law can only be tolerated, if at all, if the exercise of that power is tied to an obligation to understand what the law is, and to make reasonable assertions based on that understanding.
I was recently chatting with friends about copying/scanning fanzines with fanzine publisher permission. One of the issues that came up was the statement printed inside many fanzines that the "rights revert back to the author." A few took this to mean that if a fanzine publisher wanted to keep their zine in print or do additional print runs or give permission for their zine to be scanned, they could not do so without obtaining the permission of each contributor. According to this view, once the rights reverted back to the author, the publisher’s publication rights ended. This line of reasoning meant that fanzine publishers today, such as the publisher of Spockanalia, the first Star Trek newsletter, could not – and should not - be printing and selling copies of their zines some 40 years later.
In order to make sense of this oddly circular discussion, it is important to keep in mind that the majority of fanzines printed over the past 40+ years did not have negotiated "rights" or even a universal understanding as to what rights were being given to the publisher. You wrote a story and submitted it in exchange for a contributor’s copy. As a zine publisher, you published and sold as many copies as you could afford to sell. A few fanzine publishers took care to go into more detail with their contributors, but for the most part “‘trib copy” and “print as many as you can” was pretty much it.
Multiple print runs were not the norm in the early print fanzine era - mainly because few publishers could afford the upfront costs to fund a second print run. Often the zine publishers would advertise for "pre-orders" (or subscriptions) in order to raise enough funds to do a second print run. But typically fanzine publishers did not have to seek permission from their contributors to do additional print runs. Their right to publish the zine continued as long as they could keep publishing. Zines would go in (and out) of print, and then back into print. In the book world, savvy writers negotiated limits to the publisher’s publication rights, ending after X years. Other pro authors negotiated rights for only as long as a book was “in print” and ran into problems when the arrival of eBooks suddenly meant that nothing went ‘out of print.’
In the fanzine world the in print/out of print rules changed when xeroxing and desktop publishing became cheaper in the late 1980s. Suddenly zines never went out of print and many older zines from the 1970s were put back into print. This caused some fans to become upset as there was a booming market in selling and trading used out of print zines. Having zines back in print undercut that used fanzine market. Other fans - who were copying their out of print zines to share with other fans – were also unhappy because they were now being labeled as ‘pirates’ and ‘thieves’ for doing the same thing they had been doing for years. You can read more about this here.
In the Star Wars letterzine , Southern Enclave, readers and fanzine publishers began debating the practice of copying out of print zines. They called it, amusingly, the Clone Wars. Excerpts from that discussion can be found on Fanlore here.
One snippet in the Southern Enclave discussion caught my eye and may help explain how in fandom - according to fannish custom and not IP law - writer's rights and fanzine publisher’s rights mesh with one another. According to this description, the fanzine publisher has the rights to the zine as a compilation and, after publication, the author/artist retains the rights to do what they will with their individual creation. The writer can submit it to another zine or give it away. Or, as the publisher suggests, the writer can give permission for their story to be copied. The publisher on the other hand, controls what happens to the zine as a whole.
"The rights of the individual author/artist [is not equal to] the rights of the zine publisher -- because the whole [is not equal to the] sum of its parts. After a zine is published, the rights to each story and piece of art revert to its creator--who can permit as much Xeroxing as they like! I can't stress this too strongly: It's YOUR story, or YOUR piece of art; please feel free to share it with all the fans you like! But -- but! - the zine as a unit, with its layout, editing, and arrangement belongs to the publisher. “
In later years, when the Internet burst onto the scene, fanzine publishers and writers added a new ‘limit’ to zine publication: as a contributor, you would agree to keep the story offline for at least one year to allow the zine publisher time to sell their zines.
Note that the “rights’ discussion, does not perfectly parallel contractual or copyright laws. And it shouldn’t – first because there were usually no contracts or negotiated rights in fanzine production. And second, because the application of copyright to the fandom world carries with it its own perils. But, to quote one fan, the interplay between our fannish culture and laws creates enough “wiggle room” to be able to say that:
“Part of the reason why fandom hasn't always cared about the legality of fandom is because we feel a sort of community ownership over the source in question. When a TV show or movie airs, when we read a book, when a rock or sports team plays, those things they create become part of pop culture, and as members of society, we have some ownership over the culture we live in, which these things are a part of. We feel that gives us the right to comment upon them, to obsess over them, to create around them…….fandom is just a subculture of overall culture and I honestly feel a similar sense of ownership over the fanworks that we create as I do for the pieces of pop culture out there. The fanworks we make become part of the fannish conversation, and they grow beyond the words/pixels/waveforms/etc. on the screen.”
My takeaway from this research is that the roles and responsibilities of zine publishers vs. contributors vs. fanzine buyers/readers has been part of an ever shifting debate that has adapted to new technologies and new methods of fanworks distribution. There never has been a monolithic, universal or agreed upon understanding on this topic - and given the way fandom operates, its global scale and the fact that media fandom as we know it is entering its 5th decade, there may never be one. And that is the way it should be.
TLDR version: donate to help keep WebCite going. Oh, and citation services/URL archive services are fair use.
The long version: I heard about a new citation service/URL archiving service, perma.cc and was excited…until I read the fine print. Still, I think the service will set an important precedent that can only encourage more URL archiving services
Background: The US Supreme often links to online content. For any legal opinion or article that relies on online content, linkrot is a major problem. A Harvard study has found that over 50% of the links used in US Supreme Court opinions are gone (the number is higher for journal articles – 70%). To combat this, the US Supreme Court is printing out a hard copy of every web page that they cite and depositing this hard copy into their paper archives. But for the many people who rely on open online access to court opinions (and that’s a lot of people, both in the US and internationally), once the original website goes down, it is gone. This means that if you’re a nonprofit trying to write an amicus brief you have to hire someone to go to the US Supreme Court to actually look at the stored version. That costs money, time and energy.
The Good and The Bad
The good news is that a group of law school libraries are developing a “screenshot” service that will, eventually, allow them to permanently store a digital copy of a cited page so readers can access the cited material. The problem is that it is designed to only address published material – unless a cite is used in a published legal opinion or journal and the journal editor manually reviews and confirms the citation, it will vanish. How this service (which has not yet been launched) will impact other groups dependent on permanent links is not clear. For example, Wikipedia is the largest online open source encyclopedia. It too suffers from linkrot. But it most likely will not be helped by a service that requires that citations be “published in a journal” and reviewed and approved by the “journal editor” before it is permanently stored. And of course, there are many other types of open source journals (medical, scientific, historical) that might not qualify for this type of “verified” status because they don’t fit the traditional “publish for pay” model or are not affiliated with a university.
WayBack Machine Limits
The WayBack Machine does not solve the linkrot problem because it crawls randomly which means you have no way of knowing if the page you are citing will end up there. Or even worse, once there, if someone buys the domain name and “parks” it, they can contact the WayBack Machine to retroactively remove all the archived content as the new domain owners. In fact, there is only one service that has, for the past decade, allowed writers who are citing online material to create a static snapshot of a page: WebCite. And they've been doing this reliably and for free. Not surprisingly, one of their largest users is, in fact, Wikipedia.
WebCite’s Support Of Wikipedia
The service, WebCite, now needs help updating their service. They must move to the cloud in order to manage their increasingly large data flow. They estimate that they need to raise $25,000 to hire a developer to make this migration happen. Once there, they hope to continue offering the service for free (although they are exploring offering additional services for subscribers to create permanent funding sources for the service).
Personally, I love the idea of an institutionally run, permanent citation service like perma.cc – the more the merrier. Data thrives on redundancy and we cannot have too many online archives. If only perma.cc would also allow Wikipedia citations to be stored permanently...... While I understand why the law schools funding this effort would want to cater to professionally published and recognized journals (their “bread and butter”), I am disappointed that open source research, education and teaching continues to be overlooked and under-supported.
I can only hope that services like WebCite will continue to operate. Because Wikipedia is the second best democratic and open source knowledge tool that has ever existed (after the invention of the printing press). It just needs to continue to have access to the infrastructure (like WebCite) to support it.
About That Important Precedent That I Mentioned
Another good thing to come from the perma.cc service: it has looked into the legality of URL citation services and.....well, let’s just assume that 9 out of 10 law schools that are backing this service agree that it is fair use. And just in case anyone questions whether it is “legal” to create a snapshot of a web page for citation purposes – well, if you want to march up to the US Supreme Court and tell them they are doing it wrong, feel free. But I suspect that these type of archived pages will be considered fair use (in the US) whether you are a “for pay article,” or “a free article” used in either a “published” or “open source” service/journal (such a Wikipedia). The key will be, as always, the intended purpose of the “use.” Archiving by educational, research and nonprofit entities is a traditionally supported and appropriate use. Perma.cc’s About page points to this 2007 law article discussing the legal issues surrounding citation snapshot services:
“However, fair use instances remain unquestioned when the work is used for educational nonprofit archival purposes and when the archival has no economic impact upon the work’s marketability. The goal of the URL archives fits squarely in this latter situation – it is both educational and nonprofit…. the digital archive stores only works that can be freely accessible on the web because their authors had posted them on the web with the intent that they be freely accessed. Because the archived works are freely posted on the Internet by their authors, with no expectation of compensation, but with the understanding that they will be accessed freely by users by using such free search engines as Google, the Supreme Court’s admonition that this factor is the most important and decisive could not be more fully satisfied. To that extent, the defense of fair use [for this type of service] “seems preordained.”
PS. For a dose of humor, Slate says that "perhaps the best way way to illustrate the problem is with the rather (intentonally) hilarious "404 error" message that resides at a hyperlinked address found in a 2011 Supreme Court opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito Jr." You can see it here.
At the time, different regimes reacted differently to the threat. France reacted by banning book shops altogether and banning the use of the printing press under penalty of death. The ban was utterly ineffective. (Yes, you read that right: the penalty for unauthorized copying has been escalated as far as the death penalty, still without effect.)....
“Blair,” Jeff whispered, his lips almost touching her earlobe, “I have something I need to tell you.”
“Jeff, please,” Blair danced away. She laughed coyly, mercilessly. They’d both had too much to drink.
“It’s important you listen to me, Blair.” Jeff ran his hands over his gleaming scalp. He was sweating.
“Fine, talk, ” she said, looking away. “But don’t bore me, Jeff. I’m warning you. There are plenty of other rich boys in tight pants at this party, and some of them can dance.”
The air was heavy in this velvet-curtained room on Park Avenue. Her necklace glinted in the lights from cars passing far below.
“Blair, I’ve started a new program to make money off of fan fiction,” he pleaded. “I’m letting authors sell stories on a platform I’m calling Kindle Worlds. We’ve licensed three so-called ‘worlds’ from one company, to start. So now authors can submit fan fiction using the plots, setting, and characters of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, or The Vampire Diaries.”*Final(?) word on the no-porn and no crossover policy: "LMFAO TUMBLR FANFICS WILL NEVER BE ACCEPTED THERE HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"