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

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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

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

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