Friday, March 17, 2006

Holy copyright!

The Center for the Study of the Public Domain, has produced a comic book to teach people about the ins and outs of copyright law:
The book follows the story of a documentary maker putting together a film about life in New York City. ("Trapped by a STRUGGLE she didn't understand.... By day a FILM MAKER... By night she fought for FAIR USE!") As she's gone around and captured scenes for her film, she's also picked up incidental uses of other people's work - a saxophonist playing a song, a sign in the background with a company logo, public TV screens showing images of Bart Simpson. These scenes are a reality of modern life, yet they're a nightmare for documentary producers. As the comic book notes, one producer was forced to remove footage that featured someone whose mobile phone ringtone happened to be the theme to the movie Rocky because they couldn't afford to pay the song's publisher $10,000 for including it.

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