Orphan Works AKA death for artists

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Read this!

http://mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=pageone&article_no=3605&page=1

What the fuck is happening to this world? Over the past 7 years i have watched rights get taken away one by one. This one would put all contract artists out of work as well as photographers. This would make it so anyone could claim your work as their own, anything you make is fair use for all. This means all your pictures, all your textures, all your models, anything you make, its all belongs to everyone.

Do your part lets make sure this shit doesn't get passed!

Replies

  • Em.
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    Em. polycounter lvl 10
    We just had this email forwarded around the office..I'm completely pissed. I plan on emailing all of my legislators both here in CA and back in WA where I'm still a registered voter. This is worth all of us getting off of our collective asses and doing something before we're all screwed. To state it in the most basic way possible: Nobody fucks with my money.
  • Kevin Albers
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    Kevin Albers polycounter lvl 12
    Holy crap. This law would indeed seem to be a complete nightmare for artists. Typical corporate evilness in this day and age.

    People = Good. Huge corporations = Bad.
  • Thegodzero
    I wonder, would schools still teach art, architecture, photography and music? I guess they do still teach other things that have no occupational relevance. I guess that those would all just get added to the list.
  • Ged
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    Ged polycounter lvl 10
    cant believe this is real. Im not even in the US and this makes me angry. I sincerely hope that this doesnt get passed and that they work on finding better solutions to copyright infringement issues instead of copping out and letting thieves have their way.
  • Vito
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    Vito polycounter lvl 12
    This is vitriolic, ignorant horseshit.

    First, if a hypothetical Big Company wants to steal your shit, they don't need legislation to permit them to do it.

    Second, if you didn't register your art with the Copyright Office, no lawyer is going to help you sue said Big Company because without registration there's no way to get damages. There's no money in it. You're SOL.

    If you're an artist and you make money by licensing your work out (not work for hire), and you're not registering it with the Copyright Office, you're an idiot. Please give me your URLs so I can steal your shit, make money from it, and then use that money to buy a plane ticket to fly to your house and kick you in the nuts.

    Third, real orphan works may represent a substantial amount of previously unusable material for creative derivation and any legislation to open that up is better than them lying fallow for 70 years after their latest possible date of death. That's too long.

    All art is based on something else, especially here, where every day someone else posts yet another fucking space marine.

    Register your art with the Copyright Office, you cheap, stupid, lazy fucks.
  • rooster
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    rooster mod
    vitriolic indeed :p
  • Joshua Stubbles
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    Joshua Stubbles polycounter lvl 12
    International copyright laws already protect your work when you create it, Vito. You're honestly saying that each one of us should go out and copyright every pixel we've ever painted? Every sketch we've ever made? Every drop of paint we've slung? That's the dumbest damn thing I've ever heard.

    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wccc
    Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.
    As soon as I'm done with a piece of artwork it is mine. No one can claim it as their own. That is law. Even if I sell the object to someone, I still own the copyright to it. Unless I specifically sign the copyrights to them, it can never be claimed as anyone else's work.

    Your example of a space marine doesn't make sense, either. Basing your material off of something else isn't the problem - it's direct theft of your own artwork that is. This legislation permits anyone to take anything they want, and do whatever they want with it, unless I pay buckets of cash to some company to claim it as my own.

    Why the hell should I have to pay money to register something, when I own it right now?
  • j_bradford
    Vassago, Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe what you just said was addressed in the first part of this article. That law was created in 1976. If this bill is put into act, it changes that copyright law forcing you to have to pay a registration fee in order to protect the specific art. The original law is international, but it's being proposed in Europe already as well.

    Fuck you Corbis and Getty images.
  • Joshua Stubbles
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    Joshua Stubbles polycounter lvl 12
    bradford, exactly. It was a rebuttal to Vito's comments :P
    I find it insane that every artist, musician, photographer, etc, will have to pay to copyright every single piece of content they create.
  • rooster
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    rooster mod
    people will start covering everything in ugly watermarks if this happens :/
  • Vito
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    Vito polycounter lvl 12
    Wow, would you guys like some cheese with that whine? I think I have some. It's called ass cheese, and there's a whole plate of it here for you. I made it fresh.

    First, the intent of the original change to US copyright law that allowed unregistered works to be instantly copyrighted was to give you more time to file a formal copyright with the Copyright Office. It wasn't meant so that you'd never have to, even though that's what lazy, ignorant artists have tried to turn it into.

    Second, if you're not filing with the Copyright Office for every pixel you author, you might as well deed it all to the public domain. Why? Because you're already giving it away. By not filing for a formal copyright you lose the ability to sue for damages. When I steal your artwork, the most you can do is sue me for the fair value of it.

    Which, in this age of outsourced Chinese sweatshop artists doing oil painting knockoffs of Great Masters for $5 a square foot, is, well, about $5 a square foot.

    Oh, I'm sorry, you make digital art? Let me see how much a pixel costs. Oh, right, nothing at all. No distribution cost. Courts don't care about production cost. Courts care about the fair market value.

    Sucks to be you. Your unregistered copyright and five dollars will buy you a latte at Starbucks.

    There's nothing you can do. No lawyer will help you. You won't recoup any money from me stealing and profiting from your art. You might as well already be giving it away.

    Unless you spend the $30 plus postage to file a formal copyright. Then you can sue me for everything I'm worth and lawyers will looooove to help you out for free.

    Oh, I'm sorry, did you say "buckets of cash?" You didn't even know it was $30, a form, and a stamp, did you. No, you didn't. Dumbass.

    Your rebuttal sucks as much as the original article does.
  • Joshua Stubbles
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    Joshua Stubbles polycounter lvl 12
    Lol you're one hell of a bitter smartass, Vito ;)

    If any artist on here were to spend that (apparently small) $30 tag per texture, per model, per animation, etc - then hell yes, that's "buckets" of cash. A single environment could cost a regular artist several hundred dollars or more to formally copyright it.
    Should we be doing that? Yeah I suppose we should be. But we sure as hell shouldn't HAVE to.

    And no need to be so cranky about it! Stop using that damn sandpaper and switch to Charmin.
  • Ferg
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    Ferg polycounter lvl 11
    hrm... hypothetical question for you, Vito, oh master of copyright law-smackdowns...

    Someone has to prove they created a work to file an official copyright, correct? So, if I discovered something I made has been used in a magazine or something without my permission (ie - a sketch I posted here, done in my free time at home), I could go through the process you just described to obtain a copyright. After that, I could sue the magazine, and recoup legal fees as well as damages?

    If I understand it correctly, the author is still the only one who can copyright a work. Under this new law, however, it sounds like the first person to copyright the work gets the claim, whether they made it or they found it posted on polycount or something. Do I misunderstand?

    If I'm correct, this new law seems to be a lot more unfair to the creators of art.
  • Vito
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    Vito polycounter lvl 12
    I think you don't stand much of a chance if you register the copyright after someone else has already stolen it, since they could claim they did a good faith search of registered copyrights, and it would be obvious from things like the postmark on the envelope you sent your registration in that you didn't register it -- suggesting that you didn't care about it -- until after you saw it in the magazine.

    Stop being so lazy.

    And what new law? Orphan works legislation has been bouncing around the hill for 2-3 years now. Show me a bill number so I can look it up in Thomas. This guy provides no factual information quoted from anything, and there's no indication on sites like Sourcewatch or Lawrence Lessig's blog about something nefarious being reintroduced.

    My position that it's vitriolic, ignorant horseshit stands.
  • HonkyPunch
    Vito, you realize that if you pay 30, or even just 5 dollars for every thing you make to insure no-one can steal it, that would just be extremely inconvenient. I'm not normally one to piss and moan about corporations taking our money but to me this just seems like a way for the government to work it's way back out of debt. Not to mention this is technically placing a price on pixels, supposing you absolutely need to copyright shit.

    Then again, you don't exactly need to copyright EVERY little thing, just the shit you find worthwhile. But, this still seems like a shitty deal.
  • cochtl
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    cochtl polycounter lvl 12
    As obviously noted in the article, this law looks like it is geared towards sites where users upload tons of images to a place like flickr, places where the sheer volume of stuff can be trickled down and disseminated across other sites and places, so much so that if a person or company were savvy enough, well they could say just about anything to keep their green when a dispute arises over property being used for gain. There are so many things on the internet that are freely distributed (especially things like lolcats and other dumb shit) that it would be very hard to find the originator of that work. This new proposal just guarantees that nothing bad will happen to those parties that wish to use other people's work as they please.

    Artists can walk into something with the intent to copyright something for monetary gain, but I'm sure that most people are just not going to do something like that on a daily basis when it comes to any little old thing. However, the major thing here is the principle and nature of the situation. I mean, sure if people like Vito who are in the know can protect their work and find it palpable to disregard this as nothing, but the very fact that its even being proposed and considered is something to worry about. If this were to go into effect, then what else can be approved? What other laws or rules or loopholes can be implemented to further screw over the general populace? Bearing those things in mind, I very much do think that this is worth fighting over.

    Oh, and as an aside,

    Something similar i can recall is that humor site Ebaum's World which was notorious for taking anything and everything funny from the net and hosting it on the site for money and gave no credit to the people who made those things. There was a lot of shit on that site that really had no one to claim the work, but there were many more things like flash games and movies that actually took REAL effort to produce and the mods of that site would routinely remove any copyrighted information from those works and slap on the Ebaum logo and call it their own. Lots of people were pissed but the most that could be done was including an injunction clause in their disclaimer that stated that any work would be removed if the original author could prove the work as being theirs, but that was a tough sale because of the very nature of the medium that the content was being distributed on (the internets, mind you) so it was near impossible to fight.

    Basically, some things just weren't made with the intent of selling them, but it doesn't mean that the creators should be forced to copyright EVERYTHING just to protect themselves, because that does add up over time, even when copyrighting volumes of work. Even now it can be difficult to protect work that already has some sort of copyright as the law stands, but that doesn't mean that the process should be made any easier for people who are willing to rip from others.

    The other obvious, but shittier solution is to just not show anyone anything, but where's the fun in that?

    Just my 2 cents...
  • rooster
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    rooster mod
    ..why should it cost anything to own your own work?
  • System
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    System admin
    Wow that is some crazed possible legislation if I ever did hear one. Damn, I mean all collective artwork should be assigned property of the producer and not needing any money to do so. That's the way it is over here, all we have to do is state when the material was created, by who and use the © symbol next to it and voila, protected.
  • Joshua Stubbles
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    Joshua Stubbles polycounter lvl 12
    rooster wrote: »
    ..why should it cost anything to own your own work?

    Exactly my point. But in this shitty day and age, everyone is looking for shortcuts and east money. That is why. :poly125:
  • oobersli
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    oobersli polycounter lvl 11
    we're capitalist... money hungry warmongers... :) Pretty soon they'll be charging for each time we take a shit. If we don't pay, the toilet may or may not flush....
  • Polynurb
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    Polynurb polycounter lvl 9
    I dunno...I may be off here and I definitely want to say a few things and not intend to inflame anyone. As far as I know moral rights are not heavily enforced or supported here in the United States....other places like Europe heavily protect works with moral rights. Moral rights is the assumption that you creating something gives you protection by copyright....well in this country you don't really have courts that will enforce moral copyright. You need to go and register something you wish to protect in order to keep others from using it.

    This makes sense to me honestly. Sure you created the visual art...but it doesn't mean you have legal law-enforcing copyright to it. Also the current copyright law doesn't mean you have to pay to own your work...you "own" it as it's already in your possession. You are paying for the right to protect it and enforce a penalty on others via suing if someone decides to steal your artwork. Also people can't steal artwork that you are not sharing with others online...and I yes I do know that we don't really do art we don't intend to be seen. This also makes me think about my work as a freelancer and being a "work-for-hire"...I have to abide by US Copyright laws that state my works for clients are their creations, they have complete authorship from concept to final delivered design. These are pieces I have created entirely with only a phone call for guidance from a client. I physically create this art...but it's not mine and it's not my creation under copyright law. I basically own nothing and have right to nothing if I am a work-for-hire....there are certain exemptions I think. I may use/display some things under the Fair Use Act...such as for educational purposes, not for monetary gain, etc...

    Thinking in terms of 3d modeling or animations...sure someone could steal your render or a photo...but specifically to this they can't steal the source Maya file...the actual 3d mesh and textures. So you can share what you are doing and still keep your source files in your possession only. If you have something of actual monetary worth or value most people and businesses are already and have been protecting those images for decades now. You wouldn't start a company and develop an awesome logo or artistic scene for it and not immediately register it with the govt for copyright to protect it. Why do you think businesses or people who create art for monetary gain already do this? To legally protect their visual assets. Nothing out of order there. You wouldn't go into court if you were Mcdonalds and own your logo to the company and try and argue you own it solely on moral rights now would you? It wouldn't hold an ounce of worth.

    I haven't heard anyone mention the Visual Artists Act of 1990 or it was named something very close to that. I think that did help to establish a flimsy set of moral rights for visual arts specifically....but again it's not something that holds up well in the US legal system.

    I think what I see and hear is a lot of folks getting upset they have to abide by the laws now to protect their works....and I think it's rightfully so that artists are angry about it. I will say some of the scary verbiage in this Orphan Works is what makes it seem very broad and all encompassing.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 13
    wtf, Vito called me an assclown for saying what he's saying on IRC and I got all disceplined and shits
  • Asmuel
  • KeyserSoze
    Asmuel wrote: »
    This is madness

    Must... resist urge... to... make... "300" reference... GAH!
  • JesterBox
    Another "this will change the world law'"just like "the internet being a series of tubes"

    Companies steal land, ideas, art, and shit all the time without this.
  • Ged
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    Ged polycounter lvl 10
    JesterBox wrote: »
    Companies steal land, ideas, art, and shit all the time without this.

    companies steal shit? Id hate to be part of the shit stealing department LOL

    One question though, If I never give away my original source files...like the source is a psd but I show a much smaller jpeg version. Surely Im covering myself a little by keeping the source and not letting people have 100% copys of my work? Like if someone says "you didnt do that painting!" , I could say "yes I did, heres the original psd with all the layers"...doesnt that hold up for something in court?
  • Michael Knubben
    As infuriating as this is, I didn't get as riled up about it as I did about Vito's little crusade to prove we're all ignorant tits who don't 'get' the law. Despite some excellent rebuttals, mind you, to which he could've replied in less of a dickish tone.

    It's vitoR that's done all the hard work for polycount, right? Not this cocksmith?
  • rooster
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    rooster mod
    ged, if I understand correctly the idea is that even if you could prove you did something you dont have the right to it. Because you didn't spend $30 on it, that means you agree someone else can have it and do whatever they want to something you've posted (which is fucking stupid logic frankly)

    tell me if I've got it wrong..
  • blankslatejoe
  • Marshal Banana
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    Marshal Banana polycounter lvl 11
    If it's not broken, don't fix it.
  • JordanW
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    JordanW sublime tool
    My comment on this would be it just seems like a way for the copywrite office to make more money (which isn't a good reason to push this on artists).

    Also an artist isn't going to just be punished for this because they were 'lazy'. Lets say I photograph a lot of undersea work and I do indeed pay and copywrite it. Now there's a company who needs to use a lot of undersea pictures for whatever reason. Instead of paying me to use my work or other artists who took undersea pictures, all they would need to do is grab these 'orphaned' works by other artists and use them, thus me or anyone else who copywrited their work not getting paid.

    The companies will chose the cheaper route and I think the result would be paying for less copywrited artwork and alternatively just grabbing orphaned work.

    Honestly I think the idea that you have to pay someone else to say that you own something you created is silly anyways.
  • JKMakowka
    If it's not broken, don't fix it.

    Actually that is the point. The current system is broken.

    People are reusing content all over the place without consent of the original author (lolcats, funny pictures, hell even most of the photo source textures we do around here to name a few).
    And technically all that is illegal and could theoretically get you in big trouble.

    Think about it that way:
    It is a huge efford (often even impossible) to figure out the legal situation for many minor works, which actually means you can not use them. And all that efford of a work that the original author can't be arsed to register?

    Sure theoretically you automaticly "own" all rights to your works, but it has to be balanced with the needs of the overall society (especially if it doesn't really hurt you/the artist to do so).

    And as Vito already pointed out... all it does is turn current realities into a law.

    However such a orphan art system can be abused, especially if the registration fee is too high (and IMHO 30$ is too high already).
  • Ferg
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    Ferg polycounter lvl 11
    And technically all that is illegal and could theoretically get you in big trouble.

    I don't think that's true. If you edit the material into something that could be considered a different piece of art, it becomes your own. So taking the window of a building out of a flickr photo and putting it into your texture with some cleanup, mirroring and hue adjustments would probably be enough to get you off the hook. I'm not a patent lawyer though... this is just what I've heard.
  • JKMakowka
    It would most probably hard to prove and there are some (very limited) "fair use" clauses to copyright in many countries.
    But AFAIK using photo sources you have not made your self in textures is potentially illegal and could get you in trouble. But I am no lawyer either ;)

    Edit: I am not sure if the orphan art system is really the best way to deal with this problem. But you can hardly deny that ther IS a legal problem regarding this. It does seem to be an extented "fair use" clause though which has proven to be a good thing in many countries.

    edit2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
    "released a study that found that Fair Use exceptions to US copyright laws were responsible for more than $4,500 Billion dollars in annual revenue for the United States economy representing one-sixth of the total U.S. GDP.[20] The study was conducted using a methodology developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization.[20] The study found that fair use dependent industries are directly responsible for more than 18% of U.S. economic growth and nearly 11 million American jobs.[20] “As the United States economy becomes increasingly knowledge-based, the concept of fair use can no longer be discussed and legislated in the abstract. It is the very foundation of the digital age and a cornerstone of our economy,” said Ed Black, President and CEO of CCIA.[20] “Much of the unprecedented economic growth of the past ten years can actually be credited to the doctrine of fair use, as the Internet itself depends on the ability to use content in a limited and nonlicensed manner."
  • kat
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    kat polycounter lvl 11
    I wonder if artists could register themselves as corporate entities because, as I understand it, they have stronger copyright registration claims than individuals because anything created under the auspices of a business is already registered for copyright as part of the company mechanics.
  • Vito
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    Vito polycounter lvl 12
    Ferg is wrong.

    Basing your work off of anything of anyone else's is copyright infringement. Only the original author is allowed to make derivative works. If you take someone's window from a Flickr photo, you're deriving something from that other work. You're not allowed to do it, and a court would grant the photographer the ownership and copyright to your work.

    Even better, if the building's facade or the window frame design are copyrighted, or the look of the building or window are trademarks for a brand, the building owners or window frame designers could get involved, and a court would likely assign them the rights to both the photograph and your art.

    This is why photography is prohibited of certain buildings and works of art. This also includes, for example, listening to a song, and making a visual version of it. Or seeing a sculpture, and then going and making a 3D model of it from memory.

    To use a famous example from music, The Verve used a five note sample of a Rolling Stones song, layered underneath nineteen other tracks of original work, in "Bittersweet Symphony." Even though they licensed the rights to the sample, a Rolling Stones manager sued the Verve anyway, and won. The Verve lost all rights to their most famous song, and never earned a dime from it.

    Whatever you think your "rights" are under "fair use" or "what I heard while drunk on the internet" are almost certainly wrong. Fair use basically provides for sampling for education or criticism, e.g. so a university can't get sued for using an example in class, and a newspaper can't get sued for writing a bad review.

    There's no such thing as "fair use" to steal even a tiny piece of a work because "but I'm not going to make any money from it." You're still not allowed to do it.

    And since we're on the topic, I also hope you're not using photos of real people without model releases. Those photo galleries of mugshots? Yeah, you're not allowed to derive faces from those. Privacy issues are civil, and distinct from federal copyright issues. If someone recognizes their face in your work, you're going to have your ass handed to you.
  • TheWinterLord
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    TheWinterLord polycounter lvl 9
    Vito wrote: »
    If you're an artist and you make money by licensing your work out (not work for hire), and you're not registering it with the Copyright Office, you're an idiot. Please give me your URLs so I can steal your shit, make money from it, and then use that money to buy a plane ticket to fly to your house and kick you in the nuts.


    Register your art with the Copyright Office, you cheap, stupid, lazy fucks.

    www.pontusb.com come get some!
  • Ferg
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    Ferg polycounter lvl 11
    Reference link for Vito's post so his argument has more weight than anything else you'll read online while drunk... (especially useful for those who'd like to learn about this without being insulted)

    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/
  • Rens
    its all about the moneyzz, its all about the moneeyzz dumb dumb dumm dubadumdumb
  • kat
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    kat polycounter lvl 11
    Ferg wrote: »
    Reference link for Vito's post so his argument has more weight than anything else you'll read online while drunk... (especially useful for those who'd like to learn about this without being insulted)

    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/

    UK version (334pg consolidated)
    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/cdpact1988.pdf
  • pliang
    If this shit goes around...it will open the flood gates to everything soon enough obviously...
  • HonkyPunch
    Vito;
    Are you saying you can't be inspired by something you see?
    I'm kinda confused
  • aesir
  • Vito
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    Vito polycounter lvl 12
    One man's inspiration is another man's cheap knock-off.

    Copyright protection extends across all mediums. You can't read Heinlein and make a 3D model based on his descriptions of powered armor.

    But, the idea of powered armor? Of human exoskeletons? Even Heinlein probably cribbed that. Think for yourself, do some original design work, and you have nothing to worry about.

    Except for someone complaining that all you made was another fucking space marine.

    Oh, and since Ferg and kat were nice enough to post references, here's a good FAQ from Chilling Effects on derivative works: http://www.chillingeffects.org/derivative/faq.cgi. You two get gold stars.
  • pior
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    pior ngon master
    I'd also recommend this read :
    http://www.law.duke.edu/cspd/comics/
    Mostly from the filmmaker point of view. But it clarifies many false assumptions regarding the current laws.

    If I understand well, according to the example in that book the current law is :
    'Creative works are automatically copyrighted. And if there is no copyright notice, it's up to you to track the rights owner down.'

    But the next law might be :
    'If there is no copyright notice, do whatever you want.' ?

    Crazy...
  • kat
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    kat polycounter lvl 11
    There are (some) provisions in UK law that take into account the whole 'derived' and/or 'inspiration' aspect of copyright.
  • JesterBox
    stolen.jpg

    Hmmm... now where have I seen that monster before?

    (unless the same company made both)
  • hawken
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    hawken polycounter lvl 12
    Holy crap. This law would indeed seem to be a complete nightmare for artists. Typical corporate evilness in this day and age.

    People = Good. Huge corporations = Bad.

    technically, huge corporations are people too.
  • dejawolf
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    dejawolf polycounter lvl 11
    nightmare indeed. fortunately, there's no copyright bullshit on creating "derivative work" of military vehicles.

    what happened to "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" ?
    oh, and if copyright exerted their claws on the music industry, 100% of hip hop wouldn't exist.
    all the artwork of movie stars? gone.

    this?
    sylvester-stallone.jpg

    gone.

    if all copyright law was exerted with full force, all art would gradually diminish until all that was left was a bickering crowd of angry greedy artists suing eachother over copyrights over trivial copyright issues (the layer mask used on model X was taken from my copyrighted picture of Y)
    instead of creating art.
    and how about artistic style?
    if "fantasy" was copyrighted,
    norway would sue tolkien for using the word "troll" and "dwarf"(both creatures of norwegian mythology) and tolkien would've sue every fantasy-style game in existence for using "orc" and "elf"
    D&D wouldn't exist. warcraft wouldn't exist. HOMM wouldn't exist.
    i say you're lucky that some artists don't give a flying fuck about copyright,
    or our world would be poorer because of that.
  • PeterK
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    PeterK polycounter lvl 13
    Those are all very generic concepts dejawolf. What happens when I create a character, put a render of it on my website, and don't pay $30/$50 bucks to register it, then EA steals the exact design and makes a multi-million dollar game with my character as the main guy?
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