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Old February 12th, 2020, 06:04 PM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 520
I did want to mention that a lot of what happens in the copyright area categorically defies the theoretical way it works.

Remember Andy Warhol's Tomato Soup Cans?* The paintings were simply labeled cans exactly as they appear on supermarket shelves. No more, no less. Campbell's objected and probably had a valid legal case because the paintings do not seem to fit into any clear exception other than an outside chance it is Fair Use because the backstory of the art is the artists comment that art itself has been commercialized, and supermarket shelves are what we get in the deal as the replacement for art.

Ultimately, Campbell's let it go. It saw the bad press from efforts to vindicate its rights and the boost to Warhol's career would make the situation worse. So much for technical copyright.

Another thing, as mentioned, is that lots of things in photos and videos specifically are subject to someone else's copyright.** When you go to court and face a jury, the argument "It is mine, I stole it fair and square" doesn't play well. Jurors tend to be real, not technocrats parsing meticulous language of poorly written and sometimes not-really-intended-for-this-situation Acts of Congress.

Finally, in the area of word copyrights, it is notable that Google simply scanned and published tens of thousands of out of print books found in university libraries with the intent of putting them up for sale. The difficulty was that it couldn't get clearances on vast numbers of them; the authors died and it was impossible (or at least extremely costly) to ascertain who the rightful heirs were, if any. So a court somewhere allowed an ostensibly illegal workaround, namely that Google could publish and sell those books if it established a fund that allowed heirs to make claims for payment at a later date. I'm not sure how disputes about the fees were to be settled.

But my point is that the legal barrier of having permission for use first seems to be an artifact from an earlier time, at least in some situations. The current thought is that copyright should not get in the way of the flow of ideas and information.

So before anyone gets high and mighty about the possibility that someone is taking the bread off his plate, he will want to know that copyright is not what it used to be, and that what it used to be wasn't that protective anyway.

* (Note in passing, the photo is prolly an infringement on Campbell and Warhol's work. Do you think Warhol's estate is entitled to get paid for someone ripping off his ripoff?)

** The photo at has multiple copyrights (in the form of published logos) shown. Anyone think the photographer should be sued for posting the pic on line?

Last edited by Total Noob; February 12th, 2020 at 06:19 PM.
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