Tag Archives: copyright

Killing *that* Mockingbird

18 Mar

(I originally posted this to the Literature discussion section of MyMedia, but since I have a page on copyright, and have railed often against its abuse *coughDisneycough*, I wanted to post it here as well.)

~ * ~

With the recent death of Harper Lee, celebrated author of that quintessential classic of US literature, To Kill a Mockingbird, some readers and industry professionals have been uneasy about her legacy.

After all, after last summer’s release of the never-before-published prequel/sequel, Go Set a Watchman, which created strong, and often wildly disparate opinions among fans of Ms Lee’s first novel, there was speculation as to the circumstances under which the manuscript was discovered, and about whether its publication went against the wishes of the author.

Now, Ms Lee’s estate first official action has been to stop publication of any and all mass paperback editions of To Kill a Mockingbird–after requesting the courts to seal the beloved author’s will.

Many people are wondering what motive would Tonja Carter, who was Ms Lee’s lawyer and who is the executor of her estate, have to want to hide her late client’s will from public eyes.

Whatever her reason, her move to block the publication and reprinting of the inexpensive paperback editions, which would force new readers to purchase the much pricier trade paperback editions, is undoubtedly going to taint Ms Lee’s legacy–as well as making it less likely that schools will continue to list To Kill a Mockingbird in their required reading lists: Continue reading

Advertisements

No, really, plagiarism doesn’t ‘just happen’

8 Mar

(No, I don’t spend a lot of time looking up these stories, they just show up on my horizon.)

If one were very, very charitable, one would imagine that someone who doesn’t read much, or who doesn’t spend much time online, would not know what plagiarism actually is, and therefore, one would be able to excuse/justify/explain people like Cassie Edwards (“oh, she’s so old, she couldn’t have known better”) or Kristi Diehm (“oh, but she’s just a blogger”), plagiarists.

I am not that charitable, by far. My mother is about Ms Edwards’ age, and she knows very well, not only what constitutes plagiarism, but that plagiarizing is both intellectually lazy and morally wrong. For her part, Kristi Diehm had written (and then deleted), a full post on the topic before going on to steal other people’s intellectual content. Also, I’m ‘only’ a blogger *snort* and I’ve known what plagiarism is well before colleges and high schools started using turnitin to catch it.

I’m even less inclined to excuse people like, say, Timothy Parker, who earned a Guinness World Record as most syndicated crosswords compiler back in 2000. Parker gets paid royalties and fees for this work; instead,  he copied old crossword puzzles almost clue by clue, raking in plenty of money over the years, for work other people had already done–or by reusing his own word under fake bylines.

The original investigation was published earlier this month by fivethirtyeight, and the story was picked up by the New York Times and other big news outlets today.

Continue reading

Zounds! (or, a comic book on copyright)

6 Jan

Via Dear Author, and coming to any computer near you from Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, comes this amazing, wonderful resource to educate yourself on the wonders of copyright and fair use: Bound by Law? Tales from the Public Domain

Bound by Law cover

As is fitting, this beauty has been released under a Creative Commons License–yay!

You can read more about this beauty over at Open Culture. And of course, you can get a copy of your very own from Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Go, learn something!

Rambling rant and other stories.

13 Aug

(Please keep in mind that this was written on Sunday afternoon. After Monday’s news, all the shit below seems petty, small, unimportant–and yet, life must go on, so here it is.)

*

I’m very tired–working seven days a week ain’t for sissies–and dealing with some family crap that has no easy solution has sapped the cheerfulness out of me. Feel free to skip to the more neutral bits at the end, or entirely ignore this one, and instead expect a review in the next couple of days.

Continue reading

More on copyright

7 Mar

Discussions, discussions, discussions…

One of my favorite blogs–even if plenty of the commentary and more than a little of the posts are beyond my pay rate–is Popehat. I found it not that long ago via Dear Author, and have since enjoyed reading and even (though very rarely) commenting there.

There are a variety of points of view and interests reflected in the blog, as befits any group blog, but there is quite a bit of emphasis on freedom of speech, its challenges and its defense. It’s the posts on this topic that I enjoy the most, particularly because I love being witness to people who do put their principles before their likes/dislikes. Ken White in particular is very good about defending the law rather than siding with entities or people he may or may not have a beef with–to wit: Eat Less Totalitarianism.

The reason I’m mentioning all this here is because a more recent post–or rather, where the comment thread has wandered off to. The post gives some background about Prenda Law, a thuggish law firm (or shop) which seems to act much as the proverbial ambulance chaser for copyright holders. And in the best tradition of such fine representatives of the legal profession, they have mucked things up in fairly entertaining ways.

What made the whole bit all the more interesting to me is the conversation veering towards copyright law, infringement, piracy and the like. (Something those who have read the blog may have noticed I’m interested in.)

Continue reading

Just because you wish it…

13 Jan

and just because you believe “it’s just fair,” it doesn’t mean it’s legal.

Yesterday, Kell Smurthwaite of Kincavel Krosses commented on my latest post on copyright, explaining her position (which boils down to, “why should others make money off my hard work” and “if I give them a gift, they should do with it what I tell them to do and no more”), and asking how I would like it, were it my designs that others used to profit from¹.

I know there are many crafters and artists who feel exactly the same as Ms Smurthwaite does–that was the point of the post.

Continue reading

I don’t think you can do that…

12 Jan

I am not (by any means!) an expert on the limitations of copyright, but I’ve read a bit on the topic (see here, for example).

I’m always a bit puzzled by people’s attempts to direct what others can do when offering free patterns or charts. For example, Kincavel Krosses offers a free chart for a cross stitch project, with the following “permissions“:

  • This design is copyright to Kell Smurthwaite and Kincavel Krosses
  • You may use, copy and/or share this design, and you may change it to your liking for your own use
  • You may not sell this design or use it to make up kits
  • You may sell the finished piece for charity, but you may not sell it commercially

I have no quarrel with the first three–not only do they make sense but fall well within what I understand of copyright law: you can offer a chart or pattern, or even images, for use without a fee, yet you retain copyright of said pattern/image.

The last one, though? Not so much.

Continue reading