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Betty Boop and Indefinite Copyright

Roblimo posted more than 3 years ago | from the boop-boop-a-doop-forever dept.

The Courts 249

An anonymous reader writes "Apparently the Fleischer estate has lost a court battle for the rights to Betty Boop, a character created by Grim Natwick at Max Fleischer's studio in 1930. The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals (based in San Francisco) ruled against the Fleischers, saying in their decision, 'If we ruled that AVELA's depictions of Betty Boop infringed Fleischer's trademarks, the Betty Boop character would essentially never enter the public domain.'"

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Weird decision (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346096)

Maybe they have less money/lobbyists than Disney or something...

Re:Weird decision (5, Funny)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346136)

Do you think it's possible to mod a Judge insightful?

Re:Weird decision (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346178)

Some old Betty Boop posters ran out of copyright.
Those images were reproduced.

The two questions being decided were:
Q1. Who has the copyright
Q2. Who owns the trademark

A1a. Copyright no longer applies to the images being sued over.
A1b. The Plaintiff didn't prove they owned the copyright to Betty Boop.
A2. The Plaintiff didn't prove they owned the trademark to the Betty Boop character.

A lack of evidence is what got them kicked out of court

Re:Weird decision (4, Interesting)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346314)

Fleisher Studios was a direct competitor with Disney, and even created a Superman villain that looked suspiciously like Walt [archive.org] .

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Re:Weird decision (0, Offtopic)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346478)

That bad guy looks nothing like Walt.

>>>Revenge is a dish best served cold.

LOIS LANE is a dish.

Re:Weird decision (2)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346676)

Walt Disney [businessreport.com] , villain from Superman [archive.org] . I think they look quite similar, but maybe it's just the pure malevolence...

Re:Weird decision (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346500)

Yup, they dont own senators like Disney does.

Senator Hach was one of disneys personal property. They owned him and controlled him completely.

        * Patrick J. Leahy -- Vermont
        * Herb Kohl -- Wisconsin
        * Jeff Sessions -- Alabama
        * Dianne Feinstein -- California
        * Orrin G. Hatch -- Utah
        * Russ Feingold -- Wisconsin
        * Chuck Grassley -- Iowa
        * Arlen Specter -- Pennsylvania
        * Jon Kyl -- Arizona
        * Chuck Schumer -- New York
        * Lindsey Graham -- South Carolina
        * Dick Durbin -- Illinois
        * John Cornyn -- Texas
        * Benjamin L. Cardin -- Maryland
        * Tom Coburn -- Oklahoma
        * Sheldon Whitehouse -- Rhode Island
        * Amy Klobuchar -- Minnesota
        * Al Franken -- Minnesota
        * Chris Coons -- Delaware

These are the other evil men and women that fight for corporate rights above the rights of the people of the united states.

Re:Weird decision (3, Informative)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346606)

Your information is a bit out of date.

Arlen Specter and Russ Feingold are no longer serving in the Senate.

Re:Weird decision (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346772)

Thank God!

Re:Weird decision (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346882)

Nice to see the Senate acting nonpartisan about something. A shame its stealing rights from citizens.

Re:Weird decision (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346552)

I don't know... Thinking about it, it almost makes sense. Disney is still actively using Micky Mouse. Betty Boop on the other hand, only exists for merchandise. I'm fine with that. It's like a troll shouldn't be able to sit on a patent without using it, but if Microsoft is using Kinect technology they should have a right to it.

Re:Weird decision (0)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346598)

How many Mickey Mouse cartoons have you seen lately ...?

Mickey is used as a logo, and in merchandising.... but not as a character ?

Betty Boop is used as an well know Icon and in merchandising but is not part of the Fleischer identity...

Re:Weird decision (3, Informative)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346658)

How about video games? Epic Mickey [wikipedia.org] for the Wii was released in November 2010. The character is definitely still in use.

Re:Weird decision (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346738)

How about video games? Epic Mickey [wikipedia.org] for the Wii was released in November 2010. The character is definitely still in use.

And by all accounts it was a really good game. However, I wouldn't know because I wouldn't piss on Disney if they were on fire.

I don't knowingly give my money to Disneycorp.

Re:Weird decision (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346668)

Been to Disney World or Disneyland lately? Mickey is all over the place: in character, on rides, in artwork. This includes brand new stuff all the time.

Re:Weird decision (1)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346742)

Micky Mouse Club house is the modern version... Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Pete, Daisy, professor, etc.. etc.. All show up on the tube and make the little kids dance and sing and generally happy. So if they are doing just to extend various rights to the franchise, at least they are doing it with some style.

Re:Weird decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346976)

Their indefinite use of Mickey Mouse and rebranding as a corporate symbol should not prevent the body of historical works based on Mickey Mouse, let alone "Steamboat Willey" from entering into the public domain.

The Mickey Mouse cartoons of today aimed at the Kindergarten set have little to do with the Mickey Mouse of the 60s and 70s. I pointed out to my daughter how distinctly the character has changed just between her childhood and mine, and she, a 9 year old girl, could clearly see that difference. Go back to Steamboat Willey, and there is hardly any resemblance at all - yet the same copyright is exerted by Disney all the way back to the origins of the character. Anyone who would suggest that this is about justice and *law*, and not corporate corruption of politics, needs to have their eyes checked.

Re:Weird decision (2)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346724)

"Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" shows currently on the Disney Channel. All episodes were created within the last 5 years and it's still in active production. 104 episodes have been created so far. (Wikipedia)

Re:Weird decision (3, Insightful)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346786)

You may not have seen any Mickey Mouse cartoons, but I'm sure you've heard of some little things called:

Kingdom Hearts [square-enix.com]
House of Mouse [wikipedia.org]
Disney on Ice [wikipedia.org]
Epic Mickey [wikipedia.org]

Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means a Disney fanboy (just have young nieces) and what I think they do with it is ridiculous, but to say that they're not still actively producing new works with Mickey himself is uninformed at best.

Now if we could just get them to stop being so douchey about things that they shouldn't be, such as sending a cease and desist to a local Chuck-E-Cheese here for having the employees wear mouse ears.

Re:Weird decision (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35347014)

The character is still very much in use.

Maybe not for the creation of new animated cartoons, but you only need to stop by one of their theme parks or take one of their cruises to see how actively Mickey Mouse is in use.

Re:Weird decision (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346730)

but if Microsoft is using Kinect technology they should have a right to it.

Forever? As long as they are "using" it?

Re:Weird decision (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346908)

Producing New works... I'm fine with that I suppose.
I think it sucks when IP laws hurt creativity by letting stagnate IP owners sit on something and then sue when someone actually tries to create something. If they are actively creating, as a consumer, I'm totally fine with that.

Re:Weird decision (2)

subreality (157447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346906)

Honestly, I'm a little surprised Disney didn't send in their lawyers to help. This decision has to scare the hell out of them.

Bad enough Sonny Bono gave us shitty music (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346946)

I used to teach a class that dealt, in part, with U.S. copyright issues. Before 1998, I gave them the standard "life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years if it's owned by a business." But after Sonny Bono's Copyright Extension Act [wikipedia.org] in 1998, I just told them "If it's not in the public domain already, it probably never will be." It's a sad statement on what copyright has become (and how corporate interests thoroughly own our legislatures). I fully expect that a similar extension will pass long before 2019, extending copyright once again (forever to remain stuck in 1923, to the delight of the Disney Corporation).

And now for the flood of crappy merchandise... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346100)

(First)

Re:And now for the flood of crappy merchandise... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346116)

(Idiot)

Re:And now for the flood of crappy merchandise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346292)

Real first!

Re:And now for the flood of crappy merchandise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346334)

Yep. Sorry about that. First and last time I've done that. Had to once though!

Re:And now for the flood of crappy merchandise... (1)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346290)

(No)

sanity ? (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346134)

Sanity in copyright law? Gosh, you look different. Haven't seen you for years. How's life? Must be horrible, you look like an abuse victim. You sure you're not taking drugs?

Re:sanity ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346158)

A very sad smile has come over me.
Thanks for the smile; dam you for making me think about it.

Re:sanity ? (5, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346316)

Sanity in copyright law? Gosh, you look different. Haven't seen you for years. How's life? Must be horrible, you look like an abuse victim. You sure you're not taking drugs?

They call me Toot now. Sometimes I cut myself to relieve the pain...

Re:sanity ? (5, Informative)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346790)

Gah, it's not a matter of copyright law here. Fleischer sold the rights to the Betty Boop to another studio, who in turn sold it to Paramount, who in turn sold it to Harvey. The whole thing comes down to whether the Fleischer estate can sue someone for the rights they gave up half a century ago. The Reuters article linked to by the blog actually states this, while the blog turns it into some sort of copyright spin, which doesn't matter so much as Fleischer's estate had no ownership interest in the property itself.

Re:sanity ? (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35347038)

Sanity is that moment when a child begins to open a door but is still blissfully unaware of what lies beyond it.

Yet again, no information (5, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346156)

Once again, a story about a lawsuit posted to /. with a particular spin but very light on facts. According to one of the linked articles:

[Judge] Wallace also said the defendant AVELA Inc, which licensed Betty Boop dolls, T-shirts and handbags under a copyright based on vintage posters, did not infringe any trademark, having not held out its products as "official" or misled customers.

So according to one article Avela licensed the images, according to another they were public domain. According to one, the images are OK because they're not claimed to be "official," according to the other the images are OK because Betty Boop is public domain. What's the real story? Is it about public domain? Is it about the relationship between copyright and trademark? I have no idea. Neither the reporters or the submitter bothered to explain, or apparently, even to find out.

Re:Yet again, no information (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346172)

Yeah, there's some ambiguity there as to whether they were the licencor or the licencee of the Boop designs in question. In any case it seems that the decision was made on the plaintiffs' inability to demonstrate that they held any copyright over the character at all, with the trademark aspect being a secondary issue.

Re:Yet again, no information (5, Interesting)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346194)

The real story seems to be that PD trumped trademarks. Which is good, since trademarks can run for ever, while copyrights expire. If you could leverage eternal trademarks to prolong copyrights, that would defeat the spirit of copyright law.

Re:Yet again, no information (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346240)

Now someone needs to challenge Parker Brothers' trademark on Monopoly, since I believe the copyright has expired a while ago.

Re:Yet again, no information (4, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346656)

The trademark was nullified, but later reinstated after Congress modified trademark law. The copyright is still valid. However the original concept of the game was in the public domain, so variants don't have to be officially licensed by Hasboro/Parker Brothers. However if you want to use the -opoly name and/or design elements that significantly resemble the official Monopoly version, it may be cheaper in the long run to actually license it vs risk going to court.

Re:Yet again, no information (1, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346794)

Shouldn't be hard to make up variants.
I'm thinking the players would be pimps, the houses whores and when you get four whores, you can buy a brothel.
I'm sure most large cities have a few suitable streets, although perhaps half of the board should be covered by Las Vegas.
Chance cards could be stuff like "After an arduous beating, one of your bitches fesses up and hands you the $10,000 she's been hiding".
Utilities could be the abortion clinic and STD center.
Just don't know what to do with the railroads, though.

Re:Yet again, no information (2)

silanea (1241518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346848)

Just don't know what to do with the railroads, though.

Drug trafficking cartels. The more you control, the higher you can push the prices.

Re:Yet again, no information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346660)

I'm pretty sure that the -opoly is used extensively without any Copyright issues.

http://www.google.com/search?q=opoly&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#q=opoly&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=5f5&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=ivnsl&source=univ&tbs=shop:1&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=rPJsTYXVGsbZgAfpl72SBA&ved=0CE4QrQQ&biw=1280&bih=890&bav=on.1,or.&fp=ca3424583e0d5426

Re:Yet again, no information (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346896)

You haven't been in a game shop recently. There's knock off versions of *opoly by the boatload.

Re:Yet again, no information (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346338)

I can smell your confusion from here.
Trust, Betty joins Felix out in public now.
Were the mass produced DVDs of their old cartoons in WalMart not a signal?
How 'bout the same films being here http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=betty%20boop%20AND%20collection%3Aanimationandcartoons [archive.org] ?
Then there are the floods of flea market merchandise ,both from abroad and domestic.
I personally will be doing a couple short run series of Jazz Guitarren featuring my inlaid rendering of these characters. So the gamut on quality is represented and albeit many, many years past the founders original intent of 4 years, Felix and Betty have promoted the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by being secured for limited Time to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. Now for example I am furthering and arguably improving them in homage on the archtops.
Perhaps more in depth answers to your question could begin here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Clause [wikipedia.org]
No greedy courtsluts will be harmed in the production of these axes.

Re:Yet again, no information (1)

tqft (619476) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346416)

"No greedy courtsluts will be harmed in the production of these axes."
That is disappointing.

Can you at least make them cry a bit.

Re:Yet again, no information (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346516)

But the lack of betty boop and felix the cat porn is disturbing....

THAT is the single reasoning that Disney used to get copyright extended to 86,000 years after the death of the corporation that owns it. That the childrens cartoon characters would be used for porn and twist the minds of American kids everywhere.. I remember the disgusting bullshit that spewed from that idiot we all called Senator Bono when he delivered his damaging blow to American creativity.

Re:Yet again, no information (1)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346696)

Which just goes to show how out of touch Congress was (and is).

There was plenty of Disney-themed Pron before the extension, and there isn't any less of it now for having extended it.

I don't know what it costs to pass a bill into law – then or now. It was not money well spent.

Re:Yet again, no information (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346856)

I remember the disgusting bullshit that spewed from that idiot we all called Senator Bono when he delivered his damaging blow to American creativity.

Well, its not like he had any personal ties to the recorded-entertainment industry himself...

Betty Boop Copyright Details (2)

Comboman (895500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346638)

So according to one article Avela licensed the images, according to another they were public domain. According to one, the images are OK because they're not claimed to be "official," according to the other the images are OK because Betty Boop is public domain. What's the real story? Is it about public domain? Is it about the relationship between copyright and trademark? I have no idea. Neither the reporters or the submitter bothered to explain, or apparently, even to find out.

Here's the deal. The Betty Boop movies started in 1930 so they are still under copyright (as are most things copyrighted prior to 1924). Movie posters of that era were typically printed without a copyright notice and prior to 1976 a copyright notice was required to claim a copyright, so the posters are technically in the public domain and always have been (though the character and movies are not). If a company owns a copy of an original movie poster (not a reproduction), they can make exact reproductions of that public domain image (or license others to do so), though it's never been entirely clear how much leeway they have to make derivative works. This ruling would seem to indicate that handbags and t-shirts based on the movie posters are OK.

Re:Betty Boop Copyright Details (5, Informative)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346992)

The dates, i.e. 1924, 1930, and similar, are an important part of this problem. The other date that makes them important is 1929. When the great depression hit, a lot of judges divided up assets of failing companies among creditors and included trademarks and copyrights in those assets. You have a huge spike in bankruptcy cases, where they were overwhelming the courts, and where the IP was generally thought to be trivial, near worthless, and the courts were mostly focused on the physivcal property such as buildings, presses and even paper stock, treating the IP as an afterthought. Tremendous copyright extensions mean all those cases are part of sorting through who owns what today.
      Take the Lovecraft estate. H P Lovecraft was generally out of the habit of selling all rights to a story to a magazine by 1926. He wrote in the amateur author's magazines about the advantages of selling just first rights in case there was an actual chance at further publication, and seems to have been very serious about it. His single, most famous work, The Call of Cthulhu, was published in 1926, presumably as a first rights sale if he kept to what he announced he would do. But, if you look at the Lovecraft copyright trail, there are a huge number of his most major works where, in the early 30's, as HPL lay dying of bright's disease, some small press or other claimed his works, gave them away as part of a bankruptcy case, and often awarded them to some other company that seems to have existed only for a few days as one court settlement after another cascaded through the overburdened system.
        The system didn't promoter progress in the sciences and useful arts, it ripped off a great artist as he lay dieing in agony. The current versions of the laws preserve the right of litigants to dredge up some of the most spurious and fraudulent precedents ever entered into American law..All the court cases subsequent to that are tainted (fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine). I doubt either Brown University or the Estate of August Derleth could be said to have less than the highest respect for Lovecraft himself, but their court cases were based on a legal tangle that made them very hard to settle fairly and serve as a model of nobody being really satisfied once finally over. How many other authors are less known today, not for any flaw on their part but because the depression court battles wiped out any chance of their being published again?

Re:Yet again, no information (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346874)

Yeah, there's some ambiguity there. Let me enlighten you.
1) Big corporations are only interested in money. B.C.s don't care about rights or Public Domain or best interests. Money. That's all.
2) Although B.C.s can get money by producing items that are in the Public Domain, they can foresee getting much more money if they keep everyone else from producing those items, too.
3) Also, although the B.C.s can copyright the specific items they make based on P.D. characters and works, they would rather not hassle with penny-ante crap like that. Why by a chicken leg when you can get the whole chicken.
4) So, here's what happened in this case.
        a) AVELA had a copyright based on a poster. Perfectly legal. Betty Boop is NOT in P.D. but they hold the copyright on the posters so there.
        b) The Fleischer Estate tried to get AVELA to pay them for the use of BB because, yes, they really do hold the copyright, just not on these specific posters
        c) AVELA was correct in their use of copyright because they never promoted their works as official. That is, AVELA never said their BB was THE BB, just A BB (based on a poster).
        d) The judge is still a corporate shill. He's just shilling for AVELA and not the Fleischer Estate.

This was simply a battle between two copyright holders over who gets the money. There was never any danger of Betty Boop going to the public domain. If there was this would have been handled out of court and you wouldn't be reading the post.

You may now return to surfing porn.

Hurray! (5, Funny)

Xachariah (995669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346162)

Since Betty Boop was made in 1930 and Mickey Mouse was made in 1928 then this means that Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain! ...right?
Hey what's with all the laughing?

Re:Hurray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346362)

Well, if you find some film-posters where the copyright is expired on and you use that as a starting point. Maybe. But you have to have deep pockets to pay your lawyers because Disney Corp think the opposite.

Or break the Mickey Mouse Law (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346424)

You can draw a scrawled mickey mouse 1928 clone on a sticker with the text "Here I am breaking the Mickey Mouse copyright law" and stick thousands of copies of it all over town.

Re:Hurray! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346454)

Yes!

In the 1990s, former Disney researcher Gregory S. Brown determined that the film was likely in the public domain in the United States already due to errors in the original copyright formulation.[3] In particular, the original film's copyright notice had two additional names between Disney and the copyright statement. Thus, under the rules of the Copyright Act of 1909, all copyright claims would be null.

But you'll need a lot of money to prove it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Steamboat_Willie [wikipedia.org]

It is also public domain in Australia.

Re:Hurray! (2)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346726)

There are sites that show a lot of the old Disney stuff - steamboat willie, silly symphonies, victory through air power. Youtube has full versions of most pre-2000 Disney movies - snow white, cinderella, mulan, aladdin. For all that Disney makes sure their movies never leave copyright, they are good at turning a blind eye to copyright violations that don't cost them anything.

we've come a long fauxking way. time's up? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346168)

Robert Walker, former chair of PepsiCo and Proctor & Gamble on water:

Water is a gift of nature. Its delivery is not. It must be priced to insure it is used sustainably.

Mikhail Gorbachev:

“We must speak more clearly about sexuality, contraception, about abortion, about values that control population, because the ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren’t enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage.”

Jacques Cousteau UNESCO Courier 1991:

“In order to save the planet it would be necessary to kill 350,000 people per day.”

Jacques Cousteau, Population: Opposing Viewpoints:

“If we want our precarious endeavor to succeed, we must convince all human beings to participate in our adventure, and we must urgently find solutions to curb the population explosion that has a direct influence on the impoverishment of the less-favoured communities. Otherwise, generalized resentment will beget hatred, and the ugliest genocide imaginable, involving billions of people, will become unavoidable.”

“Uncontrolled population growth and poverty must not be fought from inside, from Europe, from North America, or any nation or group of nations; it must be attacked from the outside – by international agencies helped in the formidable job by competent and totally non-governmental organizations.”

David Rockefeller: Memoirs 2002 Founder of the CFR:

“We wield over American political and economical institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political structure, one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
David Rockefeller, Co-founder of the Trilateral Commission:

“We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine & other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promise of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plans for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. Thomas Ferguson, the Latin American Case Officer for the State Department’s Office of Population Affairs (OPA) (now the US State Dept. Office of Population Affairs, est. by Henry Kissinger in 1975): “There is a single theme behind all our work -we must reduce population levels,” said Thomas Ferguson, the Latin American case officer for the State Department’s Office of Population Affairs (OPA). “Either they [governments] do it our way, through nice clean methods or they will get the kind of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran, or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it. “The professionals,” said Ferguson, “aren’t interested in lowering population for humanitarian reasons. That sounds nice. We look at resources and environmental constraints. We look at our strategic needs, and we say that this country must lower its population -or else we will have trouble.

“So steps are taken. El Salvador is an example where our failure to lower population by simple means has created the basis for a national security crisis. The government of El Salvador failed to use our programs to lower their population. Now they get a civil war because of it. There will be dislocation and food shortages. They still have too many people there.” (1981)

Aldous Huxley, Lecture named Population Explosion 1959:

“Let us ask ourselves what the practical alternatives are as we confront this problem of population growth. One alternative is to do nothing in particular about it and just let things go on as they areThe question is: Are we going to restore the balance in the natural way, which is a brutal and entirely anti-human way, or are we going to restore it in some intelligent, rational, and humane wayTry to increase production as much as possible and at the same time try to re-establish the balance between the birth rate by means less gruesome than those which are used by nature – by intelligent and human methods?There are colossal difficulties in the way of implementing any large-scale policy of limitation of population; whereas death control is extremely easy under modern circumstances, birth control is extremely difficult. The reason is very simple: death control – the control, for example, of infectious diseases – can be accomplished by a handful of experts and quite a small labour force of unskilled persons and requires a very small capital expenditure.”

Barry Commoner, Making Peace with the Planet:

“There have been ‘triage’ proposals that would condemn whole nations to death through some species of global ‘benign neglect’. There have been schemes for coercing people to curtail their fertility, by physical and legal means that are ominously left unspecified. Now we are told that we must curtail rather than extend our efforts to feed the hungry peoples of the world. Where will it end?” Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, April 28, 1997, Testimony before Congressional Committee: “There are some reports, for example, that some countries have been trying to construct something like an Ebola Virus, and that would be a very dangerous phenomenon, to say the least. Alvin Toeffler has written about this in terms of some scientists in their laboratories trying to devise certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic specific so that they could just eliminate certain ethnic groups and races; and others are designing some sort of engineering, some sort of insects that can destroy specific crops. Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves. So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations. It’s real, and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our efforts, and that’s why this is so important.”

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, April 28, 1997; Testimony before Congressional Committee:

“And advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”

Sir Julian Huxley, UNESCO: its Purpose and its Philosophy:

“Political unification in some sort of world government will be required Even though any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable.” In the early 1950’s, former Communist Joseph Z. Kornfeder expressed the opinion that UNESCO was comparable to a Communist Party agitation and propaganda department. He stated that such a party apparatus ‘handles the strategy and method of getting at the public mind, young and old.’ Huxley would lard the agency with a motley collection of Communists and fellow travelers.

President Richard Nixon believed abortion was necessary as a form of eugenics to prevent interracial breeding

Theodore Roosevelt to Charles B. Davenport, January 3, 1913, Charles B. Davenport Papers, Department of Genetics, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.:

“I wish very much that the wrong people could be prevented entirely from breeding; and when the evil nature of these people is sufficiently flagrant, this should be done. Criminals should be sterilized and feebleminded persons forbidden to leave offspring behind themThe emphasis should be laid on getting desirable people to breed”

yikes?

Re:we've come a long fauxking way. time's up? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346188)

What does this have to do with Betty Boop??

tears would be coming out both of betty's eyes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346342)

if she saw how we mistreat each other. monkeys treat each other much better than we do. it's definitely not betty's problem now?

Re:we've come a long fauxking way. time's up? (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346634)

I think he's suggesting we use line-drawn animation for our next generation. Betty Boop never got pregnant. All hail Betty Boop, cure to the population explosion!

Clarifying comment (5, Informative)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346182)

I'm re-posting one of the comments from TFA here, as it seems to clear up some of the confusion.

David Gerstein says:
02/27/11 9:01pm

Rough analysis (could be wrong):

The Betty Boop character is a Fleischer trademark.

But—Betty Boop 1930s movie posters were not copyrighted (or not renewed?) as standalone items, so are public domain.
Fleischer tried to use its active trademark on the character to stop a third party’s use of the ancient PD art. Judge said this was a no-go.

What I take from the judge’s ruling is that the trademark only applies to new, modern uses of the character. It can’t be used to stop people from redistributing old PD Betty images/items. Fleischer tried to say trademark trumped copyright; the judge is saying that it doesn’t.

This is actually pretty major. In recent years, Warner has used the active trademarks on Looney Tunes characters to quash third parties’ reissues of PD 1930s/40s Looney Tunes content (of which there is a lot). If the Betty decision is not reversed on appeal, then Warner is stripped of its strongest weapon against the public domain.
It can use the trademark against those who would create new Bugs Bunny items, but not against those who would exploit old PD material that Warner failed to protect.

The issue of whether Paramount legitimately sold the active Betty trademark to Harvey appears to be entirely separate, though very interesting.

Re:Clarifying comment (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346820)

Butâ"Betty Boop 1930s movie posters were not copyrighted (or not renewed?) as standalone items, so are public domain.

Actually it's not even that good. According to the decision (pdf) [uscourts.gov] it's a question that the chain of rights was not established by the modern-day Fleischers and therefore they can not enforce the copyright. The fact that Betty Boop was on an old poster was/is irrelevant. The trademark issue was secondary (though important). But that has been decided previously and is not new law. Most (if not all?) Warner Brother cartoons are under copyright because they have not expired yet.

The bigger issue for me at least is that copyrights are no longer allowed to expire via any mechanism, and this political philosophy is being exported worldwide - let alone the fact that they last too long in the first place.

Betty Who? (1)

Ganty (1223066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346196)

Hands up if you've watched a Betty Boop movie in the last decade.

http://new.wavlist.com/soundfx/014/cricket-1.wav [wavlist.com]

Thought so.

Ganty

Re:Betty Who? (1)

frenchbedroom (936100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346250)

My thoughts exactly. And also, who wants an oversized-peach-headed character to enter public domain ? Seriously, Boop's face gives me the major creeps. Whichever madman created that, let him keep it FOREVER.

Re:Betty Who? (1, Interesting)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346582)

>>>Boop's face gives me the major creeps

I think her face looks a lot like that babe Danica McKellar (winnie from the wonder years) - http://www.google.com/images?q=Danica [google.com] McKellar

Oh just wait a couple of years (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346214)

the next Betty Boop Bono copyright extension act will bring her right back into copyright land

Re:Oh just wait a couple of years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346248)

Copyright and trademark are not the same thing. Please understand this before having a stroke on the subject.

Re:Oh just wait a couple of years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346474)

Geez, some people will jack off to anything.

Re:Oh just wait a couple of years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346536)

Didn't you already prove that with pictures of Betty Boop?

10 years or author's death, no corp ownership (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346384)

author would always be a person, never a corporation corporations can own copyrights, of course, but they don't enjoy benefits of authorship

otherwise, you wind up with these obscene situations where forgotten media is featured in a new movie/ whatever, and the original author stands to make some ancillary revenues, rather than nothing, from the new exposure, but no one can license the dead content because its too laborious/ tedious/ expensive

sanity please!

Re:10 years or author's death, no corp ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346466)

That's unreasonable too. The term should be a straight ten years (or whatever period you favour). The author's life expectancy should have no impact on the value of the copyright i.e. if you're terminally ill and write your work of genius (or pile of crap) then the sale value of the copyright should be the same as if you were fit and healthy.

14 years, nothing else (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346472)

Why give people a lifetime copyright? Why not go back to the original copyright term, 14 years, and build a strong public domain?

Re:14 years, nothing else (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346530)

Because that does not make lazy idiots that want to milk their inheritance for money rich.

We have to think of the lazy grand children and great grand children!

Re:14 years, nothing else (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346610)

The lazy Children and Grand children of Disney are getting peanuts .... it's the Disney Corporation that make the money

This is the same for most people the estate makes the money, it's run as a company, and some of the, often minor, shareholders are the kids/grandkids ....

Re:14 years, nothing else (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346540)

Sounds good, but good luck getting the rights holders to agree to that without a gun to their heads.

Re:14 years, nothing else (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346550)

Someone SHOULD put a gun to their heads. And be willing to pull the trigger.

Re:14 years, nothing else (5, Interesting)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346644)

Easy. Two words: Property Tax.

First 14 years: 0 tax
Next 14 years: 5% of assessed value, minimum $25,000 per year per copyright
Next 14 years: 5%, $50,000 min
Next 14 years: 5%, $100,000 min

and so on. Make people and companies VERY careful about which works they wish to maintain copyright on.

Re:14 years, nothing else (2)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35347002)

Minimum of $25K? I'm glad to see you put a lot of thought into this.

Re:14 years, nothing else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35347004)

We have copyright and trademark, I wonder if there should be something in between for characters - some way that we can leave Disney, Marvel, DC, etc. control of characters while opening pre-50's, 60's, or 70's works to the public domain.

Re:14 years, nothing else (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346572)

Because some projects take longer than 14 years to complete?

William

Re:14 years, nothing else (1)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346590)

With the exception of DNF, name one.

Re:14 years, nothing else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346616)

Hurd... 21 years now.

Re:14 years, nothing else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346622)

The Taj Mahal [sify.com] took 16 years to build. It's nigh impossible to find something that isn't physical taking over 14 years to create. Software is about the only thing.

Re:14 years, nothing else (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346760)

Avatar. James Cameron wrote the first draft in 1995, it wasn't released until late 2009.

That said, I think developing works could get some kind of protection as trade secrets, but not have the clock start ticking on copyright expiration until they are publicly released. I also like the idea of some kind of character trademark. If a company is still using a character from a work that has fallen into the public domain, they could continue to monopolize that character's use outside the context of the public domain works. So anyone who wanted to could sell Steamboat Willie on DVD or put Fantasia's Sorcerer's Apprentice on a T-Shirt, but you couldn't use Mickey Mouse in your own content without licensing it. This would allow continued development of franchises (which I believe hold economic value) without preventing works from entering the public domain (which I believe holds cultural and economic value).

Re:14 years, nothing else (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346888)

Um... I seriously doubt one could claim copyright on a first draft of any type. Usually copyright applies to something once it's been made.

"Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Copyright does not protect ideas, only their expression." is the very first lines about copyright on wikipedia. Which agrees with me that until something is released in some form copyright doesn't exist.

'Developing works' as you label them are effectively treated like secrets until a release in some form. Also of note is that different variations can be copyrighted at different times. So a book can be released in say 1995 and a movie in 2009 and each is copyrighted separately. This is true today, though due to the scope of copyright to move to a new form of media often requires licensing of the copyright of the first work to produce the second, which is then copyrighted itself.

Copyright lasts from first fixed form. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346604)

Copyright lasts from first fixed form. Please let me know of anything that takes 14 years to complete the sales channel. Or anyone who sells the draft first.

Re:14 years, nothing else (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346628)

Because some projects take longer than 14 years to complete?

Sounds like my current software project...

Re:14 years, nothing else (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346650)

It's hard to imagine an art work that, after being pubished still takes 14 years to complete.

Re:14 * X (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346952)

I'll give you 14 years, but I have real trouble thinking of copyrightable projects that take longer than 28 years to finish. There might be 100 tops.

It's more about how long the company thinks they can get the long trail of money. The newest thing seems to be Reboots, like the James Bond movies.

A poster elsewhere had a point about the $ threshold. There's metric tons of stuff that has micro amounts of sales left, but are still locked under the monolithic copyright law. Call it the "disturbed hornet" theory. The company can't sell it itself, but the minute you try to make a derived work, the fake backlash publicity that 3 press releases creates will produce "controversy sales", which are then used to fuel Schrodinger's Lawsuit.

Re:14 years, nothing else (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346996)

The excuse for a limited copyright in the United States is that an author who has produced a book and has had the benefit of it for that term has had the profit of it long enough, and therefore the Government takes the property, which does not belong to it, and generously gives it to the eighty-eight millions. That is the idea. If it did that, that would be one thing. But it does not do anything of the kind. It merely takes the author’s property, merely takes from his children the bread and profit of that book, and gives the publisher double profit. The publisher and some of his confederates who are in the conspiracy rear families in affluence, and they continue the enjoyment of these ill-gotten gains generation after generation. They live forever, the publishers do
-Mark Twain.

Personally I'm in favor of Life + 19 years so if a wildly successful author dies in the process of impregnating his wife, they'll be covered. As for corporate I think that would require a bit of research find out how old "freelance" authors are when they create their works and how long most people live after they do so and use that date as the time corporate copyrights are good for. Those time frames are also assuming that they filed for the extension, how long that is would requires a bit of research (newly published works make most of its money within what number of years).

Re:10 years or author's death, no corp ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346600)

Why not go fixed-term only, thereby preventing corporations from lobbying to "fix" the inequity?

Or, of course, we should just ditch copyright law altogether, since from its inception as a powergrab by publishers it has never been convincingly justified under any coherent theory of law/human rights. But I guess that's never happening.

Re:10 years or author's death, no corp ownership (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346890)

The best scheme is flexible: Only registered works enjoy copyright protection. One-year registration costs one dollar. The second year costs two dollars. For the third year, you'd have to pay four dollars and so on exponentially. Thus, there is no end to the copyright protection as long as you renew the registration.

Fifteen dollars buys you four years of copyright protection; should be doable even for the starving artist. And if the work becomes a hit, a thousand dollars buys you 10 years of monopoly rights to the work. If you hit the jackpot, a million dollars for 20 years doesn't sound all that bad. For a billion dollars, you'll be good for 30 years. With a good enough credit line, 40 years shouldn't be out of the question.

The best part: you'd know exactly what works are registered by whom, and what works are in the public domain. The registration fees would make the system self-sustaining, maybe even cash positive for the federal government.

9th Circuit, SCOTUS always applies a Flip-Flop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346624)

The most overturned court in history - and for good reason. So, you can't put much weight on anything they decide until the adults come and and check their work.

Re:9th Circuit, SCOTUS always applies a Flip-Flop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346840)

Not proportionally. 9th issues a huge number of rulings, so of course the number overturned is also large.

Re:9th Circuit, SCOTUS always applies a Flip-Flop (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35347012)

That may be true but anytime you actually hear about on in the news, it's going to get overturned.

slashdot = fool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346672)

This lacks details, but then again why would a Slashdot idiot do any research. Who cares about the "evil" corporations, come up with your own idea and then you to can have a copyright and maybe make some money and become one of the evil rich you slash idiots despise so much.

Another important related case (4, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346682)

There's another important case currently at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Warner Bros. Entertainment, et al. v. X One X Productions, et al., [justia.com] to which AVELA is also a defendant.

The case involves the use of images of Dorothy and friends from the Wizard of Oz. The characters were published, shortly before the movie was released, on promotional movie posters for which copyright was not sought (in those days, you had to register copyrights, unlike today, where the Berne Convention specifies automatic copyright upon publication). However, the district court ruled that the defendants, in selling various products featuring images of the Wizard of Oz characters (though not taken specifically from the movie, which is still under copyright) infringed upon the plaintiff's copyright in the movie because it used the images of the characters.

Of course, what the Ninth Circuit says in the case in TFA is apposite to the case in the Eighth Circuit. If one can infringe the copyright of a work by merely using images of characters depicted therein, then the copyright on a character can be maintained indefinitely by simply using the character in a new work from time to time. Even if the earliest works were in the public domain, the characters in those works would still be protected by the copyrights of the newer works, and this could be extended into perpetuity at the whim of the copyright holder. That clearly violates the "limited times" part of the Copyright Clause of the Constitution (although the Ninth Circuit addressed this in terms of the 1909 Copyright Act, which was the controlling law when the Wizard of Oz movie's copyright came into force, and which indicates that copyrights can't be extended in this fashion).

Re:Another important related case (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346758)

The Ninth Circuit decision is not binding on the Eight Circuit, so that other case could go either way still. If the judges side with the plaintiff, though, expect one or both cases to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Funny Story about Grim Natwick (4, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#35346910)

Grim Natwick, the animation artist who created the character of Betty Boop told a story to Howard Beckerman, an animation historian, and my instructor when I attended School of Visual Arts in NYC.

Apparently, Grim was up for a scholarship to the Art Institute of Vienna, and he was competing against another young artist of the time, a young man named Adolf Hitler. Grim got the scholarship, beating out Adolf.

For decades, Grim blamed himself for World War II. If he'd let Adolf win the scholarship, that guy might have just gone on to become some nameless painter doing still-lifes, instead of becoming the most infamous name in all of history.

I'm not sure how true this all is, but it sounds plausible. Either way, it's a good story related to Betty Boop.

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