A lesson in Fair Use and irony all rolled into one.

Professor Eric Faden sat down and edited together a short film on copyright and fair use rules using small snippets of various Disney films. It’s a little disjointed sounding, but it gets the point across quite well.

The irony is that Disney is one of the more… vigilant… companies out there when it comes to… defending… perceived breaches of their copyrights. They’re not afraid to sue at the drop of a hat if they think someone somewhere is using any amount of their material for any reason, fair use be damned, and they’ve also spent millions lobbying Congress to ensure that their material will pretty much never enter the public domain. So watch and learn before Disney issues a DMCA notice to YouTube.

Link found via Boing Boing.

15 thoughts on “A lesson in Fair Use and irony all rolled into one.

  1. That is so going on my mail of the week. I would like to add that once you broadcast a work over public airwaves it should be public domain.

  2. Ah yes, Disney the company who couldn’t even exist if the decedents of the Brothers Grimm got to keep the copyright for the brother’s compilation of stories. They’re so good at being hypocritical asses. Even a good number of their Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons are simply those characters shoved into a already written by someone else storyline.

  3. I loved the animated movie 101 Dalmations and then years later, read the novel on which it was based to my kids.  Wow!  Novel was a lot… darker.  Very cool.

  4. What are we saying here; that the copyright period is too long, and that “fair use” needs to be defined and icluded in the copyright law?
    I think the length of the copyright goes a long way to protect the “little guy”. A lot of times, the commercial potential of a creative work is not realized until a later date. A case in point; a local songwriter/musician cut a track in the late ‘60s and printed 500 45s. The track was recently included on a European compilation of vinyl rareities without his permission. From this compilation the song has been sampled and used in dance clubs all over the continent and samples used in other recordings have also spawned.
    So, this guy did the work over 30 years ago and no one gave a damn about it but, now it’s worth something and, I think, he should get paid. He will but, he has to chase the money down.

    Disney is an easy target. They own valuable copyrights. They have the means to chase down every roadside stand operator that sells bootleg Mickey Mouse t-shirts. The fact that they often do, and their ironic and baffling bankrolling of the Milne family to try and legally re-obtain rights that the family sold are starting to create some PR backlash.
    If you change the copyright laws a company like Disney would also have the means to offset the loss of bottom line, where an independent artist/songwriter/film maker probably wouldn’t.

  5. Traditionally copyright was for your own lifetime plus 20 years if I remember right, which is plenty.  Disney has stretched this to an absurd level (to say nothing of the hypocrisy K Engles pointed out).

  6. I’ve nothing to add but it’s a subject that affects me slightly. I’ve had it on a To Do List for five or ten years to chase some royalty dollars down but don’t care enough to get off my arse to do something.
    Ah; apathy; it also has its downsides. wink

  7. Pribek, in general I agree with what you’re saying. My issue is that your argument portends limitless extension of copyright – because hey, it could take 1000 years for something to have market value.

    And the reality is, there’s more to the public good than private interest (though private interest does its share of good and bad).

  8. Patness,
    I am not trying to argue for limitless copyrights. The way it stands seems fair to me. The way I look at it personally is that my copyright will be in effect through my lifetime and my immediate family’s lifetime. As a songwriter, I am a small businessman. Every creative artist is whether he or she wants to address it that way or not. From Van Gogh to Mozart to Proust to some guy today with his guitar hooked into Pro Tools in his bedroom, there remains a financial/business factor even if the factor is nothing more than the time spent creating something is time that could be spent putting food on the table.

    So, as a businessman, having spent time and, in most cases, cash putting together a body of work; it seems fair that I should have the option to pass on those benefits to at least a generation. On the other hand, if you treated any other business this way and told the creator, “70 years after you are dead, all your rights and family’s rights to the entity cease”; there would be outrage.

  9. So, as a businessman, having spent time and, in most cases, cash putting together a body of work; it seems fair that I should have the option to pass on those benefits to at least a generation.

    I’m not seeing a direct connection between making an investment and having that investment live on for at least a generation beyond your death. However…

    …if you treated any other business…

    …makes some connection to a different argument. I understand that copyright holders are not on the same ground as other businesspeople (which is part of the reason the analogy doesn’t work). The issue is whether or not putting them on or anywhere near the same ground as other businesspeople is doing a disservice to future creative works, or economy as a whole.

    The whole notion of inherited worth throws me off, although it’s necessary. Analogy: I worked a period of my life in the dishpit; my family should continue to be paid 7 bucks an hour, adjusted for inflation, for as long as we shall live. It seems absurd; maybe it’s not.

    I understand that there would be outrage, mind you, but as Disney is an apt example of, it’s legally proper to act like a spoiled child because it best protects their interests. They would be outraged at not getting whatever they want, and sending lobbyists and lawyers to negotiate whenever li’l D gets upset. *shrug*

  10. The issue is whether or not putting them on or anywhere near the same ground as other businesspeople is doing a disservice to future creative works, or economy as a whole.

    It’s quite possible that it is doing a disservice to future creative works. I think it would be impossible to prove or disprove that notion. The fact is, that cow has been out of the barn for a long while.

    My experience is with music so, when talking about copyright issues I am coming from that angle. The music publishing business existed long before copyrights. The knowledge that we have of Mozart, Bach etc., exists because somebody decided to publish the scores and make a buck off of them.

    If a Picasso painting sells for 15 million, should his family get a royalty? The answer is no because Picasso evidently sold the thing or somehow managed to let it out of his hands thus, giving up any future rights.

    Music is an intangible but one that people can use to generate money. Owning a copyright of that intangible gives one the chance of getting some of that money if it does happen.

    I don’t think that there is a chance of people ending art for art’s sake. If someone creates stuff they’re going to find a way to do it no matter what the rules are.

    I think Disney is the exception to the rule as far as guarding their copyrights goes. I know of many cases, once again from my own experience in the music publishing business, where equally large corporations turn a blind eye when someone is wrongly using copyrighted material. Unless, that is, that company perceives that either a great deal of money is being made or, being lost or some damage is being done to tarnish an image.
    In regards to the latter, harm being done to the integrity of an original work, the large corporation (Acuff Rose publishing) lost in the Supreme Court (Campbell vs. Acuff Rose).

  11. I once wrote a term paper about how Walt Disney and his Imagineers used all sorts of psychological tricks, mainly through architecture and design, to keep the guests reassured, calm, and interested. I wanted to use a picture of Walt Disney in the park, and the Disneyland logo in my paper, but in 1994 I didn’t have a scanner, and I was having trouble finding what I needed off of the Internet.

    I took a book I have that has both images to Kinko’s, and asked them to scan them for me. Kinko’s refused citing copyright infringement. They suggested I writeDisney’s legal office and ask for permission, which is exactly I did.

    Securing one-time usage rights for the images was an interesting process. I had to submit a draft of my paper, which was returned to me with corrections for accuracy and grammar. Disney asked that I make the changes, and resubmit the paper. I did as they asked, and was granted my one use contract in the mail shortly afterwards.

    I was allowed to publish only three copies of my term paper. One was for my grade, one for myself, and one for Disney to keep in their archives.

    They were very nice about the whole thing, and even shortened the process considerably, (two weeks instead of 90-120 days,) so that I could make the paper’s deadline.

    I also received extra credit for writing a paper describing how I got the rights for the images.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.