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Warner Bros. Forced To Fight For Fair Use

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the crossing-the-aisle dept.

Movies 222

V-similitude writes with news that Warner Bros. has been forced into a position of claiming 'fair use' in the defense of an upcoming movie. From the NYTimes: "In The Hangover Part II, the sequel to the very successful what-happened-last-night comedy, the character played by Ed Helms wakes up with a permanent tattoo bracketing his left eye. The Maori-inspired design is instantly recognizable as the one sported by the boxer Mike Tyson, which is part of the joke. (Mr. Tyson makes an appearance in both films, playing himself.) But S. Victor Whitmill, a tattoo artist formerly of Las Vegas and currently from rural Missouri, doesn't quite see the humor. Mr. Whitmill designed the tattoo for Mr. Tyson, called it 'tribal tattoo,' and claims it as a copyrighted work. ... Warner Brothers in its brief also invoked the 'fair use' defense for Hangover Part II, namely the right to parody what has become a well-known tattoo since it first appeared on Mr. Tyson’s face in February 2003."

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Iron knee (0)

Qatz (1209584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203612)

Title says it all.

Fair use when it suits them (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203616)

For Hollywood, copyright has one meaning: inflating their profits. Unfortunately, almost everyone in America has forgotten that copyright is supposed to exist to improve the people's access to works of art and science, not just to make money for copyright holders, and so Hollywood manages to get away with their abuse of our legal system.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (-1, Flamebait)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203652)

You seem to think that the goal of the system is to give you open access to anything you want on your terms. That has never been the point of copyright. The point has always been to set up a system whereby creation can be incentivized - which works wonderfully well. We have more creative output and more access to it now than ever before, and every trend is upward.

That shouldn't mean everyone gets what they want when they want it merely because they want it.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (5, Insightful)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203726)

And you have completely mis-read the OP. He's not arguing that people should be able to pirate Hollywood's content as and when they please. He's arguing that Hollywood abuses the legal system, and does so to extort more money out of the people than Hollywood are due by suppressing Fair Use, and in this case parody. The irony here (seeing as you don't seem to understand it) is that WB are using the parody clauses of copyright law to get out of paying someone damages.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203762)

You seem to think that the goal of the system is to give you open access to anything you want on your terms. That has never been the point of copyright. The point has always been to set up a system whereby creation can be incentivized - which works wonderfully well. We have more creative output and more access to it now than ever before, and every trend is upward.

That shouldn't mean everyone gets what they want when they want it merely because they want it.

Yes, anytime anybody criticizes copyright in any way, you should accuse them of being a deadbeat or a thief. You go on with your bad self!

I had a co-worker who did this. Discovered later he was being paid 20% more than I was, and he did poorer work that was eventually thrown away. But, as they say, correlation is not causation.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (0, Flamebait)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203798)

I'm saying we, right now, have more creative works and greater access to them than at any point in history. The system, flawed as it may be, works.

Ideals are fine and wonderful and have never, ever worked.

So yeah, I come down on the winning side.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203842)

Actually, in the creation of software, it loses. There is a reason that about 80% of the startups around here use Open Source software.

I think the reason we have more creative works and greater access to them than at any point in history is because of the Internet. And these things are happening in spite of copyright law, not because of it.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203876)

How does it "lose" in software?

Re:Fair use when it suits them (3, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204330)

Open Source software is valuable precisely because strict exclusive ownership rights are not exercised over it. Yes, there are licenses like the GPL. But they do attempt to enforce continuing joint ownership by society at large, not exclusive ownership by the creator.

I, personally, avoid using software that isn't Open Source, and I generally refuse to use non-Open Source software in certain situations. Proprietary software frequently has negative value to me. The exercise of strict ownership over it has leached it of all value it might otherwise have possessed.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203882)

There was never a time after the invention of recording of music and video without copyright, so it's completely impossible to determine if copyright helped or hindered the creation and access to music and films.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (2, Interesting)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203910)

Hey, I just had a great idea! Ley's abolish copyright for a decade or so to see what difference it makes. For science.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (3)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204584)

Hey, I just had a great idea! Ley's abolish copyright for a decade or so to see what difference it makes. For science.

I've been pushing that idea since at least the turn of the century. And not just "for science", but for the good of all of us, including the creative artists.

I know you're attempting sarcasm, but I believe that abolishing intellectual property would be beneficial all around. It would be good for business, for the economy, for consumers, for artists. The only people that would not be happy are the media executives and patent trolls who have never created anything in their lives.

Depends on what you mean by "works" (3, Insightful)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203942)

> have more creative works and greater access to them than at any point in history. The system, flawed as it may be, works.

I'm willing to cede you that if your definition of "works" is that narrow, you might be right. Unfortunately, other people are also interested in things like anonymity, the ability to secretly share information without fear of government intervention, and other freedoms which they think are a bit more important than how many Hollywood blockbuster movies get released every year. "The system" is currently very successful financially, yet not so successful at preventing the implementation of anti-piracy procedures which infringe on these freedoms --- this is because all of the money is on the side of the hyper-enforcement of copyright side.

My apologies if when you wrote "the system" you meant "as it is now without PROTECT IP, COICA, ACTA, 3 strikes, etc.". My point is that copyright law seems continually evolving in one direction, towards more (and more onerous) copyright, and your observation that everything is actually working right should mean that it shouldn't be evolving at all.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204192)

The system simply does NOT work. Your position seems to be similar to Hollywood's position that copyright "entitles" you to a constant income forever, and ever, amen. And, probably ditto with patents.

Neither system was meant to ensure that any author or inventor could sit on his arse for the rest of his life, while his "intellectual properties" generated wealth for him. They were ONLY meant to ensure that if ANYONE were to make a coin from his works, then he should get some of it, for a limited time.

The time limits have been raped unrecognizably, fair use has been treated similarly, and parody the same.

What is a reasonable time limit on copyright? How about 15 years for most forms of print, movies, and other media. And for software, 7 years. If there is money to be made from any copyrightable material, that money should have been made within those time frames. After that - it's public domain. And, I don't give a small rat's ass for any arguments to the contrary.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204546)

I'm saying we, right now, have more creative works and greater access to them than at any point in history.

Yes, but it's all illegal.

Personally, as someone who makes a living from my own creative work, I believe access to creative work is more important than obeying the law.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

nfc_Death (915751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204600)

Wow you could not be more incorrect. Per capita we have access to less works of art and media than we have ever before in history. Just because more people exist making art and media does not somehow mean our access to said art and media is greater.
I can prove the opposite is true. Two Hundred years ago there were substantially less trademark/copyright/patent based laws in existence, that would mean that per capita an individuals access to media and art were restricted to a much lesser extent than today.
Considering that patent/trademark/copyright litigation is one of the major users/abusers of our justice system, we can deduce that a massive amount of precedence and case law has been created to apply to copyright/trademark/patent issues. So as an individual today I am encumbered many many times more than I was 200 years ago when it comes to appreciating or possessing art or media Or if you wanna build on someone else's idea (the very basis of capitalism) forget it.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203830)

I'd like to note, I think Warner Bros should have to pay here. That was an original work of art they copied.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203884)

With the permission of the current owner, Mr. Tyson.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (2)

second_coming (2014346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203938)

Not at all. The design belongs to the artist, Tyson effectively has a 'print' of the original design and does not have the right to let others recreate it.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (2)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204496)

Could it be argued that the tattoo is a "work for hire" and Tyson, as the client who commissioned it, owns it?

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204572)

I would certainly try this argument. I don't know if it would work. I would imagine it would turn on whether the tattoo artist and Mike Tyson thought he was paying for a design that nobody else would be allowed to have. If Tyson picked the design out of a book of similar designs, he'd likely be s.o.l.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203964)

Actually, Tyson does not own the copyright to his tattoo. He was merely licensed to display it. Says so in the EULA posted above the door in the tattoo parlor where he got inked.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (3, Interesting)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203880)

That has never been the point of copyright. The point has always been to set up a system whereby creation can be incentivized - which works wonderfully well.

This philosophy makes me sad. Not because it's wrong, or because it's right, but because it indicates that people think the most compelling reason to do something is because of monetary or other material gain.

(I would argue that we would have just the same, if not more, cultural and technical innovation if we had much weaker copyright and patent systems, because people would actually have to work hard to produce things of extraordinary value in order to gain from them.)

Re:Fair use when it suits them (0)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204490)

Who said the only incentive is material gain? Are you sad that people like to have rewards for their efforts? Why do you think it's more fair for you to set the terms of incentive instead of the creator?

Re:Fair use when it suits them (5, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203982)

And it fails quite badly at that.

For instance, why is LOTR still under copyright? Somebody is obviously getting all those royalties, but how does that incentivize creation?

If incentivizing creation is the true goal, then copyright should be much shorter, perhaps the original length of 17 years. Authors should have a good reason for producing multiple works during their lifetime even if they strike gold (especially those, as they proved they can write good stuff), and publishers and similar should be encouraged to find new authors instead on relying on collecting the benefits of works created a century ago.

But copyright keeps getting pushed to an ever longer length, because its current purpose isn't about incentivizing creation, it's about owning as many works as possible and collecting profit from them, which gets easier the longer copyright lasts.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204004)

We have more creative output and more access to it now than ever before, and every trend is upward

I'm not arguing that copyright incentive is zero I just want to point out that this has generally been true for most points in history. Technology tends to improve output and access much more drastically than laws concerning the exchange of information.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204234)

While it is true that we have more creative output in absolute terms, can you explain how much more we have in relative terms and how the current copyright regime enables this?

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204358)

It says right in the Constitution exactly what the post that you contradicted says.

You are the one merely asserting your preferences and insisting on getting them.

Copyright abridges our rights to free speech, press and other expression. It's arguably justified only when it advances progress in science and the useful arts. "Incentivizing creation" is just your opinion of why, and is at best highly debatable.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (0)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204442)

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

That's what it says. Nothing about improving access. You might try to quibble that you can somehow promote progress other than by incentivizing creation, but you're pulling that from wherever you got your idea of what the Constitution says.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (2)

pugugly (152978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204686)

And by 'every trend' make sure you include ridiculous patents, copyright trolls, and creating 'intellectual property' such as business method patents that were never intended to be patented in the first place.

All that said - actually given the copyright protection extended to furniture design and other such items in movies (which I don't think merit protection), a tattoo design definitely qualifies as art under copyright (And frankly, might qualify evenn if it hadn't been so overetended). Warner Brothers isn't commenting on or parodying the tattoo itself - they really don't have a leg to stand on regarding fair use.

Pug

Pug

Re:Fair use when it suits them (4, Informative)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203782)

Did you ever wonder why the movie industry is located in Hollywood? It was because Edison who owned the patent to motion pictures was very strict as to the types of movies that could be made. So all of the famous studios you know today were started out west where they could easily avoid the patent enforcement that was happening back east.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203828)

Patent and copyright are two very different beasts....

Re:Fair use when it suits them (2)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203998)

Not really. Both deal with rights to profit from results of intellectual activity.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (3, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204002)

True, one is generating a shitload of money for lawyers and the other ... oh wait! ;)

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204072)

The difference is that patents expire, eventually, whereas copyrights seem to no longer expire.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (4, Informative)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204148)

Patent and copyright are two very different beasts....

So different, in fact, that there is only one clause [wikipedia.org] in the Constitution granting Congress the power to create both of them.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204784)

Same beast, two heads. It is named intellectual property. And Stallman owns a katana.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204056)

...and then they made the Hays Code.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203840)

Copyright has no meaning. Companies bribe the so-called elected officials to do their bidding. We, the public, are the enemy. This is life in the USA, get used to it. Same for you other first world countries. You do as we in the US say while the dollar in the global currency. 10 years time? Maybe one of the East markets will stop killing each other over their gods or birth region for long enough to muscle in. Fat chance! USA! USA!

Re:Fair use when it suits them (3, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203952)

Wait.. did I miss it? Were the authors of Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning sued by LucasFilm / Paramount / any of the other companies involved with the Star * sci-fi series?

Because I"m pretty sure that downloading/uploading a copy of a movie doesn't fall under most interpretations of the 'fair use' doctine, whereas satire and parody (see story) do.

I would argue that Mr. Tyson is part of the 'work', and by modifying the work of art by putting it on the other guy's face for parody purposes, means the original artist can go bugger off.

If he really wants to try to lay claim somewhere, he should go after the tattoo artists that tatoo'd Mike Tyson + tattoo on somebody else's body:
http://isportacus.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/mike-tyson-tattoo1.jpg [isportacus.com]

But I guess there's less money in that.

Re:Fair use when it suits them (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204094)

If it's based that heavily on the original then it's likely to be considered a derivative work. And since there is apparently no creativity involved with recreating the tattoo for the movie it should be considered a derivative work.

As such, there definitely is going to be something of significance to this case if Warner Brothers manages to win. Or even if they don't, this would likely still have some pretty astonishing effects on the tattoo industry.

Good! (0)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203624)

Let them taste their own poison

Big Deal (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203640)

The major content producers are Pro-IP because it's where all their money is, sure, but the argument WB is making is that it's a parody, and *nobody* in the US comes close to saying parodies are not okay, because courts would reject that argument. Kind of like how in the recent video game case, the real trick was trying to get around any reasoning that meant the government could ban books.

The First Amendment makes it really hard to argue parodies are not okay.

Re:Big Deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203778)

This is one of those cases that may appear simple on the surface but really isn't. In the past [eff.org] it's been argued that while parody or satire of a work is protected, using that work to create a parody or satire of a different subject might not.

You and I would probably agree that it shouldn't even be up for debate, but Big Content has led the assault on fair use and it's really hard to pity them when their own arguments bite back. Especially when so much of their own material is derivative, one would think it behooves content producers to be at the forefront of defending fair use -- how much do they have to spend in lawsuits and research and licensing agreements just to make their films culturally relevant?

Re:Big Deal (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204110)

Except that this isn't parody by any reasonable definition. Which is going to be a real problem. I haven't seen the film, but merely slapping an identical looking design onto a character, even if the character is a parody, is not sufficient to extend fair use to that. Especially since there's no reason why the design needs to be that similar to the original.

copyrighting meat canvas (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203672)

does this make Mike Tyson a work of art or a piece of work?

Re:copyrighting meat canvas (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203788)

Or does it make him a parody of himself [wikipedia.org] ?

oh now I feel dumb (5, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203696)

I thought it was the face tattoo from star trek voyager's Chakotay

Re:oh now I feel dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203866)

you're not the only one

Re:oh now I feel dumb (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204140)

Since Chakotay's face tattoo pre-dates [wikipedia.org] Tyson's by about 8 years [wikipedia.org] doesn't that mean Warner Bros is off the hook?

Re:oh now I feel dumb (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204184)

My mistake, the tattoo's are identical [google.com] , so warner bros stole the exact same design.

Sue away.

Irony (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203698)

it will be a pleasant twist when WB goes after somebody for a parody of their material and having this case thrown back in their faces :)

Although, major studios believe that law only works one way...for them.

ITT: (1)

Legal.Troll (2002574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203724)

almost every single poster (including, apparently, the OP and approving editor) cluelessly thinks that this is ironic in some fashion.

Re:ITT: (0)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203738)

That's cos it is...

Re:ITT: (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204112)

WB routinely asks youtube (which more often than not complies) to remove videos which use (sometimes insignificant parts of) the works they own the copyrights to, even though those often fall into the fair use case they are argumenting for. You don't think that's ironic?

This should be a non-issue (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203746)

According to US copyright law, when you perform a work for hire, such as a painting or a tattoo, the work becomes the property of the person the work is performed for unless otherwise agreed upon.

So the work belonged to Tyson, not the artist at that point (unless they agreed otherwise). And if Tyson gave permission for it to be used, then there is no problem.

Re:This should be a non-issue (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203766)

According to US copyright law, when you perform a work for hire, such as a painting or a tattoo, the work becomes the property of the person the work is performed for unless otherwise agreed upon.

Tell that to the photographer you hired for your wedding.

Re:This should be a non-issue (3, Interesting)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203832)

Well that's usually in their contract. Thankfully, not every photographer does this.. hit google to find out where you can find them and whether they're available for shoots.

The question then is whether or not Mr. Tyson signed a similar such contract OR whether the work could fall under the same laws that absurdly make taking photos of statues and other works of art ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_Gate [wikipedia.org] ) violations of copyright resting on them from their original artist - enforced only when commercially exploited, but still absurd.

Re:This should be a non-issue (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203838)

They make you sign an agreement that they retain the copyright... get a good photographer, pay the higher price, and have it be a work for hire instead of the standard contract that leaves those photos as his/her property!

Re:This should be a non-issue (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204772)

Hmm? I own all my wedding photos, and have the document to prove it. Now I did end paying 2-3 times what i could have, but I really wanted the copyright assignment. Of course in the contract was the ability for the photo place to use them in advertising and promotional material, and I would hardly ever deny a photographer rights to use it in a portfolio, and if I did I know I pay very well for it.

Re:This should be a non-issue (1)

Berkyjay (1225604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203776)

Ahh, beat me to it. Exactly, thank you.

Re:This should be a non-issue (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204118)

Mike Tyson apparently doesn't own the rights to the original. It was apparently agreed to that the tattoo artist would own the copyright to the tattoo. Which seems odd to me, but that was apparently what they agreed to.

oh the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203752)

Karma is a bitch!

Whitmill's mistake (4, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203770)

Warner Brothers further stated that Mr. Whitmill failed to use any DRM when creating the tattoo, which would not only have protected the tattoo but also effectively served to keep it out of public domain even after the copyright expires, circumventing the intent of copyright law as spelled out in the Constitution.

Re:Whitmill's mistake (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203924)

But he did include DRM. The DRM was putting it on the infamous boxer Mike Tyson.

End-run around the 1st amendment (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203818)

It sounds like the general public has discovered that copyright law and trademark law allows them to do an end-run around the 1st amendment. From the article:

The range of material that individuals and businesses are seeking to get copyright protection for has only been expanding, often at the insistence of movie studios. Mattel has gone to court to assert the copyright of the face of its Barbie doll; fashion companies have been lobbying Congress to pass a law to protect unique, nontrivial new designs. And trademark, which is governed by different laws and is much more contextual, has been used by athletes and coaches to get a measure of control over terms like “three-peat” or “Revis Island.”

This system is broken. Culture should not be owned.

Culture should not be owned. (2)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203868)

Culture should not be owned.

And no reference to convicted rapist Mike Tyson should ever include the term "Culture".

Re:Culture should not be owned. (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204280)

He is, whether you like it or not. Sorry. Deal. If you don't like it, go shoot him yourself, though that won't stop people from talking about him.

Re:End-run around the 1st amendment (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203974)

Spoken like a true hipster. Culture can't be owned. Appropriating people's artistic works isn't culture, it is consumerism.

Re:End-run around the 1st amendment (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204152)

Historically the way that was handled was by art patronage. The artists would be working in a studio most days the way that other people would and the patron would pay for their time. Which would allow a large amount of art to be produced. The main problem with it was that it tended to stifle creativity as one still had to worry about making something that the patron liked.

Locally, the city has paid for public art that then belongs to the city and is available for whatever uses people have for the works. There are some practical limitations like you can't take the statues, but it's definitely one way of handling the problem.

Re:End-run around the 1st amendment (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204296)

And once all the artistic works that are important to a culture are owned in perpetuity by their respective creators? That basically means culture is owned.

What he should have done (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203922)

If he had trademarked the tattoo the studio would be screwed. It's why TV shows blur most logos. Trademarks are much stronger than copyright and usually stand up to fair use claims.

A question (4, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203940)

Does S. Victor Whitmill have permission from the Maori people to produce tattoos based on their designs?

Re:A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204016)

Does S. Victor Whitmill have permission from the Maori people to produce tattoos based on their designs?

You believe in indefinite copyright?

Re:A question (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204026)

Insightful... those designs are protected in New Zealand at least via the Treaty of Waitangi.

Re:A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204038)

Of course not. They're not American.

--

And no, the design wouldn't belong to Tyson unless he and the Whitmill specifically had a "work-for-hire" agreement.

Re:A question (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204160)

Why would he need that? By that logic architects would need permission from the Romans whenever they chose to include Roman arches in their buildings. A lot of architects would be liable for infringement around here if that were true.

Re:A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204224)

Well, there are a lot of people in the entertainment industry who feel that copyright should last forever. Thus logically, they think that the descendants of the Roman architects should have got a cut.

Re:A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204250)

Well the Romans would need permissions from the Mesopotamians first, before they could lay claims at the architects.
Bloody Romans.

Re:A question (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204298)

That's what I get for not paying enough attention to my posts. Sigh, that should've been Roman columns.

Re:A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204382)

If the Romans held the copyright, then yes.
IANAL but the arches would be public domain, same with the tatoos and I don't think you can copyright something that is public domain, or that has prior art.

So based on that, it don't think the Tattoo artists copyright would really stand.

Again, IANAL and stuff like this seems asinine to me.

Re:A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204476)

Maori tribal art stems from the 1970s. Ever been to New Zealand? Thought not. It's all crap made up to create an indigenous "art" to parallel the Australian Aborigines.

Re:A question (1)

endymion.nz (1093595) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204802)

You're an idiot.

Dear Judge, (2)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203976)

We are thoroughly in favor of Fair Use rights... as long as it's in our favor. Help a brother out? (Ha! Get it?)

Yours truly,

- Warner Bros. Legal Department

Warner likley wants it both ways (1)

Glasswire (302197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203990)

No doubt, if you or I, having seen the movie, wanted to paint ourselves up like Ed Helm, Warner would claim we're violating THEIR rights

Isn't it Tyson's? (1)

UESMark (678941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204010)

If he designed it for Tyson, who presumably paid him, doesn't the design belong to Tyson? Otherwise Tyson would owe the tattoo artist for every appearance and image of same produced of him. Which sounds impossible on its face (pun intended) to me.

Re:Isn't it Tyson's? (5, Interesting)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204214)

The artist and Tyson explicitly arranged a copyright transfer to the tattoo artist, which is why he has a rather strong case at the moment: he can show a contract between him and Tyson giving him the rights to everything that's based on that tattoo. The contract also predates the movie by several years.

Now you can argue about the silliness of copyright on this, but he is an artist and copyright does work this way, even if the canvas is a person. And Warner Brothers is about the last entity in the world that can claim ignorance on copyright issues, so they're probably going to try and get a deal, because if it goes to trial I wouldn't give them much chance. Not when every good defense will also backfire onto your own use of copyright to intimidate people.

All in all: good news. I hope the artist takes them to the cleaners. Perhaps that will teach them something about why abusing copyright is similar to wielding a bioweapon: it tends to backfire.

It's only fair (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204014)

I think that they should be charged for every person that could have potentially seen the ads with the tattoo. If they pay 17trillion dollars to Mr. Whitmill that should cover all the infringement. Seems fair to me.

shoe.other.foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204018)

hahaha this is warner brothers who tried to sue an indian film company for a film titled "harri putar" saying it was too close to harry potter...even though the storyline was entirely different...surely thats "fair use" which they are now using a a defense for themselves when they exactly replicated a piece of art (from POV of tat2 artist) anything they now claim is going to shoot their own arguments dead..hilarious..

Maori's are alive and well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204036)

Approx - 1 Million Maori's are alive and well in New Zealand - have political clout - and own lot's of land so any Maori "designs" are part of Maori's culture - seems to me said claim may have issues ....

Sure, go and tell Mike Tyson (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204064)

That you OWN part of his face. Make sure you say it real nice and loud-like.

Mr. S. Victor Whitmill (1)

sgage (109086) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204246)

is a flaming asshole. He should be sued by the Maori, from whom he ripped off "his" design. What a scumbag.

The "artist" is a jerk (2)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204394)

"Tribal" artwork is owned by the tribes who used them for millennia - they feel bad enough about Westerners just using those sacred symbols (or some imitation) for a stale fashion statement. But actually trying to claim copyright on something you yourself copied?

Good artists copy, great tattoo artists from rural Missisoupy claim copyright.

Re:The "artist" is a jerk (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204450)

I was about to make a similar point. The tattoo artist is a hypocrite,

Re:The "artist" is a jerk (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204456)

"Tribal" artwork is owned by the tribes who used them for millennia - they feel bad enough about Westerners just using those sacred symbols (or some imitation) for a stale fashion statement. But actually trying to claim copyright on something you yourself copied?

Good artists copy, great tattoo artists from rural Missisoupy claim copyright.

The colour green represents my peoples ancient ties to the land, and their commitment to agriculture, peace and a refutation of the nomadic goat-herding ways of our distant cousins. By using this colour in the title of your post, you have co-opted our sacred symbol and have publicly defaced all that we hold dear, by making a (fashionable) statement.

Re:The "artist" is a jerk (2)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204582)

"Tribal" artwork is owned by the tribes who used them for millennia

By that argument, it's in the public domain, so no one has any claim on it. Which actually makes perfect sense to me!

Wait a minut! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36204410)

Before you go calling them twofaced remember that their position is the same in all cases: "We are correct, since we have the most money". Not two faced at all.

Parody does not include duplication (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204518)

We have seen the parody fair use claim before and watched it fail when the item in question is a complete replication of the work in question. By precedent, Warner Bros should lose this one.

Ferris Bueller (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204644)

Reminds me a bit of the case of the Ferarri 250 that was really an MG.
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