Re: more on copyright: Illegal Art: Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age

From: Jim Carlile (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Oct 08 2008 - 21:33:15 PDT

yeah you're right, much of the problem comes from just the intimidation
factor. But infringement is hard to establish-- most of it involves how much the
offender has watered down the owner's ability to profit from their work-- but
a lot of people are more paranoid about it than they should be.
The same's true of trademark violations-- it would be unlikely that an owner
could recover damages for a documentary or non-profit short film use-- a
big, storyboarded commercial film is different, because an intent to use factor
is present.
* One of the sure-fire ways to legally indemnify yourself against successful
legal action is to inject critical comment or satire against the property in
question. It's easy to do that, and American courts have protected this
right for years. You can't just use a Beach Boys song, say, as a template for
something-- you have to mock it, too.
A scary thing about copyright infringement-- it's starting to become a
criminal matter, not just civil. This is a whole new development that throws out
200 years of legal precedents....
In a message dated 10/8/2008 4:11:33 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
email suppressed writes:


I think you're right in another sense - copyright law is crime-related, but
lawsuits involve common law, i.e. suing someone for using your trademark is a
civil case, not criminal. Hard to apply the term "illegal" to a tort case,
I think. Not that I'm a lawyer or anything.

The comic linked to earlier has lots of clear data about that, including
cases where (as you point out) the law wasn't broken - but the artists still
lost (caved) due to the costs of fighting the cases. Unfortunately some of the
clear data, when amalgamated, becomes a fuzzy picture.


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