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Mickey’s Infinite Copyright

3 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Sep 30, 2006 7:15 PM by David Goodger

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David Goodger

Posts: 48
Nickname: goodger
Registered: Apr, 2004

Mickey’s Infinite Copyright (View in Weblogs)
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 8:09 AM
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Summary
One of my graphics was recently featured in a BoingBoing story and is now available as a sticker. This is the story behind that graphic.
Advertisement

I like to dabble in the graphic arts from time to time, when I have an idea. My work is featured here, on my home page. I use Inkscape to create SVG (scalable vector graphics) files. Here's one of my ideas:

http://python.net/~goodger/projects/graphics/mic2.png

Mickey's Infinite Copyright

(Copyright ©2005-2006, David John Goodger, released under a
contact me if you’d like to do something commercial with this image.)

After being featured on Boing Boing, this image is now available as a sticker from BumperActive.com, with 22% ($1) per sale going to the Creative Commons.

When will Mickey Mouse's 1928 debut, Steamboat Willie, enter the public domain? At the current rate, never! As of this writing, it's 78 years old, fer cryin' out loud!

What this means is that nothing in the commercial creative world (books, art, film, music, etc.), published during your lifetime, will ever enter the public domain in your lifetime. In other words, it's locked up for life. That's really sad, and disastrous for dynamic culture! You can fight this trend using Creative Commons licenses on your work.

Please feel free (as in freedom) to put this on personal T-shirts, especially if you’re visiting Disney World or Disneyland, or attending a Disney film premiere ;-). I guess the next step is to open a T-shirt shop...

Free Mickey!


Terje Slettebø

Posts: 205
Nickname: tslettebo
Registered: Jun, 2004

Re: Mickey’s Infinite Copyright Posted: Sep 27, 2006 5:19 AM
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As it says in John Merrel's editorial in the "Overload" magazine (http://www.merrells.com/blog/work/archives/2002/08/overload_50_edi.html), referring to law professor Lawrence Lessig's keynote presentation at Usenix 2002 in Montrey California:

"Lastly, Lessig told the tale of the Brothers Grimm and Walt Disney. The Grimm?s unpleasant stories had passed into common property by the time Walt started making animated films. He quite legally borrowed from the stories liberally. In 1790 an author of a work owned rights over that work for 14 years. In 1832 that term was increased to 42 years, in 1909 to 56, in 1962 to 59, and then extended often until 1976 when it stood at 75 years. In 1998 the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (aka the Mickey Mouse Protection Act) increased it to 95 years. Thus, no one shall do to Disney what Disney did to the Brothers Grimm."

Steve Holden

Posts: 42
Nickname: holdenweb
Registered: Apr, 2003

Re: Mickey’s Infinite Copyright Posted: Sep 30, 2006 6:25 PM
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I agree with your feelings on copyright, and find it slightly ironic that I read your comments above a line reading "This weblog entry is Copyright © 2006 David Goodger. All rights reserved.".

A case of "If you can't beat them, join them"?

David Goodger

Posts: 48
Nickname: goodger
Registered: Apr, 2004

Re: Mickey’s Infinite Copyright Posted: Sep 30, 2006 7:15 PM
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> I agree with your feelings on copyright, and find it
> slightly ironic that I read your comments above a line
> reading "This weblog entry is Copyright © 2006 David
> Goodger. All rights reserved.".
>
> A case of "If you can't beat them, join them"?

No, simply a case of "that's how the site does things." The same notice appears on all blogs here on Artima.com (including your own: http://www.artima.com/weblogs/index.jsp?blogger=holdenweb).

I would retain copyright to my words in most cases, but under the "Founder's Copyright" -- 14 years, extendable once. The image itself uses a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, and I'd license the text of my posts similarly. Perhaps I'll add a license clause at the end of future posts.

(The rest of this post is a generic rant -- not directed at anyone in particular.)

I have no problem with copyright itself. It's a useful concept and tool. What I object to is effectively infinite copyright. Disney's Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day was released the year I was born. I'll be lucky to live the currenly-required 95 years before that film reverts to the public domain. Not that I'll have any interest or be in much shape to do anything about it, even then.

And I'll give good odds that the figure of 95 years will change for the worse well before that :~(.

But imagine all the cool remixes and reimaginings (derivative works) that would be possible if the Founder's Copyright were still in place! Films seen in childhood would enter the public domain when artists are in their creative primes.

The Public Domain is also a useful concept and repository of culture. Look how Disney has harvested it over the years! I'd like to see the Public Domain strong and vital, not weak and stagnant as it is now.

What gives copyright holders (usually not the artists, BTW) the right to suckle at the teat of residuals forever? The current trend is disgusting.

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