Prince and Copyright

Prince and Copyright

Posted by: on June 29, 2017   |Comments (0)|Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright disputes over Prince’s material and image have been making news, and two stories of note have emerged in recent months.

The first centers around a fair use debate (similar to the fair use case covered in an earlier post, regarding Shepard Fairey’s Obama HOPE poster and his use of a reference photo as inspiration for the piece). The estate of Andy Warhol has filed suit against New York City photographer, Lynn Goldsmith, as a preemptive strike against her to protect Warhol’s legacy; according to the NY Daily News, Goldsmith had been expected to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against the estate. Goldsmith alleges that Warhol used a photo she took of Prince in 1981 as inspiration for his Prince Series (created in 1984) without asking or crediting her.

The estate argues that Warhol’s appropriation of the photo was transformative enough to be considered new work (therefore, fair use under U.S. copyright law) and Goldsmith is ignoring this aspect in an extortion attempt. Estate lawyer, Luke Nikas, stated in court documents that, “Although Warhol often used photographs taken by others as inspiration for his portraits, Warhol’s works were entirely new creations. As would be plain to any reasonable observer, each portrait in Warhol’s Prince Series fundamentally transformed the visual aesthetic and meaning of the Prince Publicity Photograph.” When asked why she did not pursue legal measures at any point over the past 30 years, Goldsmith said that she was only made aware of the pieces in 2016, when Condé Nast published a special issue called, The Genius of Prince. The estate counters that she knew of the pieces as far back as 1984, when she granted permission to Vanity Fair to publish one of them.

Prince’s image isn’t the only thing sparking debate – his catalog of work is, as well. While his Warner Bros. music catalog was released earlier this year to digital streaming platforms, his videography remains largely inaccessible to the public due to copyright dispute. Will his full videography be made available at some point? And further, will the public ever gain access to the material in his Paisley Park estate’s storied vault? It’s been speculated that nearly all of the contents of the vault lack thorough rights contracts. Prince’s estate has been in flux for some time, as it battles to resolve contractual disputes with Universal and Warner over rights. Since his passing in April 2016, various issues involving rights have arisen – the hope is for speedy resolution to all issues of copyright, so the public may freely access his work. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Copyright disputes over Prince’s material and image have been making news, and two stories of note have emerged in recent months. The first centers around a fair use debate (similar to the fair use case covered in an earlier post, regarding Shepard Fairey’s Obama HOPE poster and his use of a reference photo as inspiration […]MORE

Open Access Week: Three Open Access-related Videos Worth Watching

Posted by: on October 27, 2016   |Comments (0)|Open Access

In honor of Open Access week, Digital Publishing would like to share with you three movies related to Open Access and copyright issues: RIP: A Remix Manifesto, The Internet’s Own Boy, and Copyright Criminals.

 

RIP: A Remix Manifesto: release date – ca. 2009

A film by web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, aka Girl Talk. This is a compelling and fun movie about the history of copyright and its implications on creativity. It draws upon the work of Girl Talk, and the filmmaker himself, as some of the examples of the complexities surrounding copyright law in regards to sampling music, film, etc., and using other artists creativity as a stepping stone for their own work.

The Internet’s Own Boy: release date – 2014

From DocumentaryStorm:

The Internet’s Own Boy follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity.

Copyright Criminals: release date – 2009

From Vimeo:

A documentary that examines the creative and commercial value of sampling in music. Featuring Public Enemy, De La Soul, QBert and more

Still from RIP: A Remix Manifesto

Still from Copyright Criminals

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-1-56-00-pm

Still from The Internet’s Own Boy

In honor of Open Access week, Digital Publishing would like to share with you three movies related to Open Access and copyright issues: RIP: A Remix Manifesto, The Internet’s Own Boy, and Copyright Criminals.   RIP: A Remix Manifesto: release date – ca. 2009 A film by web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, aka Girl Talk. This […]MORE

Library of Congress Passes New Exemption to Copyright Law

Posted by: on November 25, 2015   |Comments (0)|Copyright and Fair Use

On October 28th, the Library of Congress passed a new exemption to copyright law, which allows consumers to jailbreak their tablets, computers, automobile software, and Blu-ray devices without fear of having legal action brought against them. This exemption is an upgrade to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Section 1201), which is designed to protect against the theft of intellectual property, and it renews and expands protections for fair use. Request for the exemption comes in reaction to a law that forbids users from breaking Digital Rights Management (DRM), as users often have to circumvent DRM to make full use of their devices. DRM is, “a term referring to various access control technologies that are used to restrict the usage of proprietary software, hardware, or content. DRM includes technologies that control the use, modification, and distribution of copyrighted works, as well as systems within devices that enforce these policies.” (source)

Proponents of DRM argue that it is necessary to prevent intellectual property from being duplicated, helps copyright holders maintain artistic control, and ensures continued revenue streams. Conversely, opponents to DRM argue that there is no evidence that it helps prevent copyright infringement, serves only to inconvenience customers, and helps big business stifle innovation and competition. The exemptions will go into effect in 2016 and are up for review and approval again in 3 years. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

On October 28th, the Library of Congress passed a new exemption to copyright law, which allows consumers to jailbreak their tablets, computers, automobile software, and Blu-ray devices without fear of having legal action brought against them. This exemption is an upgrade to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Section 1201), which is designed to protect against […]MORE

The Happy Birthday song is now, finally, public domain

Posted by: on September 26, 2015   |Comments (0)|Spotlights

A legal battle spanning two world wars, 8 track to mp3 players is finally over. Warner/Chappel’s lucrative ($2 million a year!) copyright ownership claim is struck down in court.

Happy Birthday

Warner/Chappel will no longer be able to charge royalties to filmmakers, artists, and many other for profit ventures for using the classic Happy Birthday song. Judge King ruled that the original copyright of the song covered only the piano arrangement and not the entirety of the song. This ends a decades long legal battle between Warner/Chappel and independent filmmakers and artists.

Until now, Warner has asked for royalties from anyone who wanted to sing or play “Happy Birthday to You” — with the lyrics — as part of a profit-making enterprise. Royalties were most often collected from stage productions, television shows, movies or greeting cards. But even those who wanted to sing the song publicly as part of a business, say a restaurant owner giving out free birthday cake to patrons, technically had to pay to use the song, prompting creative renditions at chain eateries trying to avoid paying royalties.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-happy-birthday-song-lawsuit-decision-20150922-story.html

 

A legal battle spanning two world wars, 8 track to mp3 players is finally over. Warner/Chappel’s lucrative ($2 million a year!) copyright ownership claim is struck down in court. Warner/Chappel will no longer be able to charge royalties to filmmakers, artists, and many other for profit ventures for using the classic Happy Birthday song. Judge […]MORE

Apple & Google Play Announce New Digital Music Streaming Services

Posted by: on June 24, 2015   |Comments (0)|Spotlights

1

This week, both Apple and Google Play launch their new music streaming services. In a possible effort to lure paid subscribers, Google has launched their service ahead of Apple, with Apple’s service set to launch for June 30th.

Apple’s service made news this week when the company came under fire, most notably in an open letter penned by Taylor Swift, who accused the company of intending to stiff artists on royalties owed to them during the service’s 3-month free streaming trial period. They have since reconsidered the decision and announced that they will be compensating artists via (Apple Senior Vice President) Eddy Cue’s twitter account.

Unlike Spotify, neither service allows you to select the songs playing. Google Play Product Manager, Elias Roman, says that he believes many people will not mind, as consumers are after an effortless experience. The company is relying on the behind-the-scenes work of actual people, who hand select and curate available playlists; algorithms only come into play after a radio station (based on an artist or song) has been chosen. Apple’s philosophy is similar: Their service claims to offer an “old-fashioned human-curated music playlist for the digital age,” and Apple’s music chief Jimmy Iovine says that algorithms alone “can’t do that emotional task.”

Subscribing to Google Play allows you to take playlists offline – as well as manipulate, edit, and rename – and listen without interruption. Apple will be offering their service for free for the first 3 months and will offer individual and family premium plans after that time. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

This week, both Apple and Google Play launch their new music streaming services. In a possible effort to lure paid subscribers, Google has launched their service ahead of Apple, with Apple’s service set to launch for June 30th. Apple’s service made news this week when the company came under fire, most notably in an open […]MORE

Free Audio Resources without Copyright Restrictions

Posted by: on September 30, 2014   |Comments (0)|Open Access

Did you know that there are many ways to find free music and sounds effects licensed for re-use online?  This recent blog post from Free Technology for Teachers shares some such sites.  These tools are helpful in many ways, including using sound files for various multimedia projects, such as videos that include music.  The article specifically mentions that a student’s video project would be more effective with the use of music.  Teachers might find these sites useful to explain copyright issues to students in regards to stealing music, etc. from the web, by showing them what music is actually in the public domain and has a Creative Commons License. Of course, these sites might also Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.29.51 AMbenefit teachers for their own projects, as well.

A few great sites for finding free music include:

  • Free Music Archive: This is a great site that hosts a wide range of music genres in a high quality format, free of charge.
  • Sound Bible: This site is an excellent source for various sound effects, such as: dog barks, city sounds, wind sounds, etc.
  • SoundGator: This is also a great site for various sound effects, sound bites and sound clips that are in the public domain with a Creative Commons License.

 

Did you know that there are many ways to find free music and sounds effects licensed for re-use online?  This recent blog post from Free Technology for Teachers shares some such sites.  These tools are helpful in many ways, including using sound files for various multimedia projects, such as videos that include music.  The article specifically mentions […]MORE

Shepard Fairey: A Case of Fair Use

Posted by: on September 8, 2014   |Comments (0)|Copyright and Fair Use

In mid-August, my colleagues and I completed a MOOC on Copyright for Librarians & Educators.  The course was presented by Duke University. A topic widely discussed and debated in both the lectures and forums was the issue of fair use. Fair use (in US copyright law) is, “the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.” (source)

One of the most intriguing cases of fair use for me is the one of street artist, Shepard Fairey, who battled in court from 2009 to 2012 with the Associated Press and photographer Mannie Garcia, over his transformation of the photograph that was used to create the Obama Hope print. Ultimately, he won on the issue of fair use, but lost on the issue of perjury (he initially lied about which photo he had used as inspiration for his work). Many know Fairey as the artist behind the OBEY GIANT imagery.

Fairey’s thoughts on the issue were eloquently detailed in the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology’sReflections on the Hope Poster Case“. In it, he states that his argument for his work falling under fair use is that he used pieces of the photo as raw material to create a heroic and inspirational political portrait, the aesthetic of which was fundamentally different from the original photo. Of his use of appropriation, he said, “The cultures that inspire me creatively — punk rock, skateboarding, and streetwear (graphics-heavy casual fashion) — all rely heavily on appropriation art, both because they are irreverent cultures, questioning the status quo, and because they are cultures with a rapid metabolism and throw-away mentality.”

As to why he did not obtain a license, Fairey said: “I intended no disrespect to photographer Mannie Garcia, but I did not think I needed permission to make an art piece using a reference photo. From the beginning, I openly acknowledged that my illustration of Obama was based on a reference photograph.  But the photograph is just a starting point. The illustration transforms it aesthetically in its stylization and idealization, and the poster has an altogether different purpose than the photograph does.” (source) So what do you think? Does Fairey’s work fall under fair use, or does he owe royalty money to the Associated Press and Mannie Garcia?  For more of Fairey’s thoughts on appropriation, take a look at the Reflections article here.

In mid-August, my colleagues and I completed a MOOC on Copyright for Librarians & Educators.  The course was presented by Duke University. A topic widely discussed and debated in both the lectures and forums was the issue of fair use. Fair use (in US copyright law) is, “the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material […]MORE

Copyright for Educators & Librarians

Posted by: on July 24, 2014   |Comments (0)|Scholarly Communication

2Beginning this week, three colleagues and myself will be participating in an online workshop run through Duke University by Kevin Smith (M.L.S., J.D.), Lisa A. Macklin (J.D., M.L.S.), and Anne Gilliland (J.D., M.L.S.).

All three instructors began as librarians and went to law school in order to assist colleagues in schools, colleges, and libraries better understand copyright. Their principal role in their current positions is to help sort out copyright issues that arise in education and libraries. From their introductory bio on the class website:

“In all of these situations, our goal is to help teachers and librarians accomplish their legitimate educational goals in ways that respect copyright and reduce the fear and uncertainty that sometimes hampers creative teaching. As lawyers, we strive to find responsible ways to say ‘yes’ when asked if a new teaching idea or library services can be considered within the confines of the copyright law.”

Throughout the next four weeks, we will be learning about how the history, purpose, and structure of the United States copyright law is relevant to educators and librarians. For more more information about this course, please visit the course website.

Beginning this week, three colleagues and myself will be participating in an online workshop run through Duke University by Kevin Smith (M.L.S., J.D.), Lisa A. Macklin (J.D., M.L.S.), and Anne Gilliland (J.D., M.L.S.). All three instructors began as librarians and went to law school in order to assist colleagues in schools, colleges, and libraries better […]MORE

Cultural Anthropology Goes Open Access

Posted by: on February 10, 2014   |Comments (0)|Open Access

This week, a prominent journal in anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, has gone open access. Cultural Anthropology is a peer-reviewed academic journal, which covers issues related to theory, research, public dissemination, and ethnography (across a variety of perspectives) in the field of anthropology. The journal going open access means that it has become freely available to the public without any cost associated. This status will allow for new opportunities in scholarship, communication, and dialogue to occur. The open access movement has arisen, in part, in protest to the privatization of intellectual work. For more about this new development, please click here.

JCA

This week, a prominent journal in anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, has gone open access. Cultural Anthropology is a peer-reviewed academic journal, which covers issues related to theory, research, public dissemination, and ethnography (across a variety of perspectives) in the field of anthropology. The journal going open access means that it has become freely available to the […]MORE

Copyright Myths and Guidelines

Posted by: on January 23, 2014   |Comments (0)|Open Access

 

On January 16th, DPS attended a workshop called, “Copyright Skills as Risk Management Tools: The Librarians Role,” hosted by the Association of Rhode Island Health Science Libraries at CCRI Lincoln.  Most of  the attendees were medical librarians and had important questions regarding the duplication of medical articles requested by doctors and practitioners. Many brought up the Contu Guidelines. Often citing the ambiguity surrounding what is the proper amount of photocopies to make of a certain article, and highlighting the ignorance of copyright knowledge shown by their requester.

Here are a few interesting links presented at the workshop:

downloadCopyright Myths-a publication of the Graphic Arts Guild: This is a great article that helps to debunk some of the myths surrounding the copyright of creative works, such as music, arts, literature, etc.  Often creating scenarios that  people might be confronted with when wanting to use someone else’s piece of music, photograph, etc. for their own purpose and explaining what the actual laws are regarding those scenarios, and not the “assumptions” of what is correct.

download (1)Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in academic and research libraries: The ARL was created in 1932 to address common issues that university and research librarians might be dealt with. The ARL Code of Best Practices is a set of eight situations that are designed to help librarians make informed decisions regarding what materials can be shared and duplicated for educational and research purposes. And it is important because it enables librarians to have a clearer understanding of what items are fair use and what are not. Here are a few FAQs regarding Best Practices.

  On January 16th, DPS attended a workshop called, “Copyright Skills as Risk Management Tools: The Librarians Role,” hosted by the Association of Rhode Island Health Science Libraries at CCRI Lincoln.  Most of  the attendees were medical librarians and had important questions regarding the duplication of medical articles requested by doctors and practitioners. Many brought […]MORE