Category Archives: MACME

Copyright vs public domain – How many people really don't get it?

Cooks Source: US copyright complaint sparks Twitter and Facebook storm | Media |

…”the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it!”

This is a view we have to fight as teachers, and it is fascinating that it also exists in an apparently experienced publisher. I am used to it in 16 year olds, but the storm that has kicked off since ‘Cooks Source’ copied an article wholesale has proved that not everyone is falling into this trap.

Obviously, the extreme other end is Rupert Murdoch who doesn’t want anyone seeing his copyright material (see various rants against aggregators, like Google – who then link to the original article on the original site). Lessig would argue that his centre of the road approach of Creative Commons is a way to let people ‘try before you buy’ – and it’s very existence is to hold a line directly between the ignorance of free and the obfuscation of paywall.

While I don’t condone the cyber bullying that has occurred, it is bloody funny.


Teaching Copyright Podcast

I had the good fortune to chat with some very experienced and knowledgeable professionals form teh Creative Industries about copyright and how it affects them. Each had a diferent story to tell, and in this podcast I have condensed these to pass onto teachers.
This is designed to be used to inform you of the state of play of copyright, while allowing you to have access to case studies to help explain them to students.
Andrew Buchanan, a producer who specialises in Wildlife documentaries talking about his experience with the limitations of access and how it effects the creative process.
Phil Shepherd – who works extensively in Community Media Projects, talking about low budget film making and issue with music clearance
Bernard Pearson, who is a 3d artist dealing with sculptures in ceramics on the issues with business and, through his connections with Terry Pratchett, about the issues with dealing with large companies who just want control over the copyright.
David Handley, an animator who has worked with Aardman and Disney projects who expresses teh understanding of copyright from and artists and consumers point of view.

My thanks to all involved – I really learned a lot, and I really hope to pass it on as effectively as possible.

Alan Hardcastle Teaching Copyright by Al2erego

Rant in © Minor

After much reading and talking about Copyright, a few things have gotten to me. So here is me getting it off my chest – unedited, so I apologise for any grammatical errors I have left intact. But hey, it is a rant.

Bernard Pearson is a 2d & 3d artists who works in styles & techniques. He learned by copying these techniques – Sampling, if you will, different artists’ styles and different arts to apply to his own practice.

This does not contravene copyright. Skill is the artistic application of said variety of ideas that are being combined into a new piece of work. If he had copied a piece by another artists and it looked exactly the same, then he would have infringed copyright. If he made a 3d figure of a 2d drawing by someone else, he may have broken copyright. If he took both ideas, combined them and added a little of himself, not copyright infringement.

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Margaret Gould Stewart: How YouTube thinks about copyright | Video on

The summation of my arguments:

Margaret Gould Stewart: How YouTube thinks about copyright | Video on

We are protecting copyright, and monetizing it.

Larry Lessig: How the Law is strangling Creativity.

You are flexing your muscles and preventing people form expressing themselves.

Interestingly, Stewart uses the example of a wedding video, monetized by Sony to promote the 18 Month old Track. It was then plagiarised by the Office season finale…

Youtube Music Video Row from 2009

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | YouTube music video row heats up
13 March 2009:

A deal between YouTube and the PRS, which set out how much the website pays songwriters every time their videos are watched, has expired.

The two sides are now wrangling over a new fee. YouTube says the PRS is demanding “many, many times” the previous rate, but the PRS says YouTube wants to pay “significantly less than at present”.

Sharkey accused Google, which owns YouTube, of blocking the videos in order to force the PRS to lower its price.

So, is Google using copyright as an excuse to flex it’s muscles? By blocking music videos, they are enraging the average consumer (who does not know or care about Copyright) and showing how effective they are at helping to promote music. PRS supplies licences to the rights to the performance, so it is only really hurting the artists, surely?

Ainsworth vs Lucasfilms Summation

Star Wars helmets are not art, says judge | Pinsent Masons LLP

Star Wars helmets are not art, says judge

OUT-LAW News, 04/08/2008

A designer did not infringe the Star Wars film franchise’s copyright when he sold replica Stormtrooper helmets because copyright law does not apply to them. The designer will face an English court hearing on US copyright law over the sales.

Andrew Ainsworth worked on the original helmets for the Star Wars films in the 1970s and now sells replica helmets based on his original moulds. Lucasfilm, the company behind George Lucas’s Star Wars franchise, sued Ainsworth in the US and the UK over the sales.

It won a copyright judgment against Ainsworth in the US and sought to enforce it through the UK courts and to conduct a separate case in the UK.
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Ainsworth vs Lucasfilms appeal Ruling

Lucasfilm cannot enforce US copyright ruling on Star Wars helmets, rules Court of Appeal | Pinsent Masons LLP

Lucasfilm cannot enforce US copyright ruling on Star Wars helmets, rules Court of Appeal

OUT-LAW News, 16/12/2009

The makers of sci-fi blockbuster Star Wars have failed in their bid to establish that they owned the copyright in the helmets of the film’s sinister stormtrooper army. In an appeal they lost a right, granted earlier, to enforce a US copyright ruling.
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SBA 2010

Just had a good meeting with Sue Higgins of the Chamber of commerce. We worked with them last year to produce a series of 11 90sec shorts for their award ceremony, putting it together as one film and even operating on the night. This year we want it bigger.

Somerset Business Awards
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Notes on Copyright

Birth of Copyright.

Ok – here is what I know / believe, from memory. I will try and back a few things up at a later date, and indeed add dates.

Since I am mainly interested in Creative works, let us start with books. Books are a way of capturing ideas and providing us with point no 1 of copyright – having a physical thing to copyright.

So, The Author, having written the book, has a solid representation of the idea. This is now a thing. Just like a painting, a sculpture, etc. It belongs to the Author, but can be owned by whomever it is sold to.

And here we have a starting point. David is Michelangelo’s, not the Duke who bought it. The duke has bough the right to have it in his house, to display it, and say “look how rich and tasteful I am. Here is Michelangelo’s David”. Everything is fine.
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Examples of Spoof Newspapers

Roy Greenslade: METRO versus METR0 in late-night court action | Media |

Copyright covers Satire – or does it. Interesting case that also raises questions about freedom of speech.

The publisher’s lawyers immediately took legal action against the fake METR0 distributors, a group called PressAction that appears to be linked to Indymedia UK, which describes itself as “a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues.”

Both Press Action here and Indymedia here carry identical reports stating that the publication of METR0 was part of a two-day protest against racist and anti-migrant bias in the mainstream media.

Little History to check out-

Distributing fake free papers is not new. A fake activist version of free daily 20 Minuten in Switzerland appeared when the World Economic Forum met in the country. A French labour union published a fake Direct Matin issue during a strike. The New York Times and the Dutch paper de Volkskrant have also been spoofed.

And a few references –

I remember Londons Evading Standards being distributed outside underground stations many years ago.
Plus a report from yourselves on a spoof Financial Times: