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Better Copyright Through Fair Use and Ponies

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the omg-fair-use dept.

The Internet 169

Balinares writes "With even harmless parody sites like Peanutweeter now getting shut down by twitchy lawyers in the name of brand dilution concerns, the situation with fair use has become bleak. Yet some companies are learning at last. Variery reports that when parodies of their latest production started popping up online, Hasbro not only allowed it to happen, but started contributing some of their own. Now their My Little Pony reboot has gained a huge following and reached cult status. Fair use does make everything better. That, or it's the ponies."

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169 comments

4chan (0, Troll)

m2vq (2417438) | about 3 years ago | (#36904312)

Like the article states, Hasbro makes more money with the merchandise than the actual show now, so that's why they dont care. And the people posting those ponies are really in pain in the ass. On the forums I visit there's only a few of them, but they're all some 4chan idiots who also like to watch anime and post sad threads about their lost teenage years. Then they go on and spam ponies. What better way to go destroy brand name than annoy tons of people with it, even if it's only done by some idiots thinking it's fun.

Re:4chan (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904350)

Visit ponychan sometimes. We're all about love and tolerance.

Re:4chan (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904414)

...and hugboxing galore. Now, the most even-handed community, aside from r34 fics and pics (which are spoilered as a rule), is actually the MLP General's on 4chan's /co/ board: http://arch.413chan.net/mlpgeneral/ Very little evangelizing (since they had to be contained back in February), still somewhat critical opinions on content there, and it's just, well, general pony talk now.

Re:4chan (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 years ago | (#36904630)

The point of stuff like Transformers, My Little Pony, GI Joe, etc is to sell toys. Hasbro is a toy company. The fact that they can make 30 minute "ads" that children love to watch is a bonus.

Hell, Hasbro basically licensed Transformers to Paramount for nothing - Paramount keeps all the cash from the movie. Hasbro reaps the rewards of people buying the toys. (It may have changed with the success of the first movie - but it was true for the first - completely funded and Paramount kept the profits).

What's happening here is basically fans have created ads for Hasbro. If they sell more toys as a result, even better.

Re:4chan (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 3 years ago | (#36906090)

Correct! The only thing Hasbro has in common with Peanuts is in the form of a question (Is this fair use and what is the best legal response?). The answer is different. Hasbro is not in the business of selling images of their toys, and by participating they are continuing to show leverage. If someone actually started producing Hasbro TOYS/products, they would respond more like Peanuts lawyer responded. In the case of the Peanuts strip, setting the precedent of allowing your complete comic to be reproduced with no control over the words, the lawyer would be negligent to allow the easement. If I was running something like the twitterpeanuts, it might occur to me to ASK permission, which would have generated a "nicer" letter (probably still saying no, but who knows).

Oh god. (0, Troll)

L1B3R4710N (2081304) | about 3 years ago | (#36904320)

I never thought I'd have to read about My Little Pony here. Today is a sad day for me.

Re:Oh god. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904394)

I never thought I'd have to read about My Little Pony here. Today is a sad day for me.

And Slashdot just became 20% cooler.

Re:Oh god. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | about 3 years ago | (#36904456)

I never thought I'd have to read about My Little Pony here. Today is a sad day for me.

And Slashdot just became 20% cooler.

Sadly, ponies cannot effect a miracle and do better than that.

But oh sweet Celestia, I might spend more time here again if Taco brought back OMG PONIES theme but updated it for FiM. Sure, it might drive away the last vestiges of what made /. great; but, I mean, how much worse can the noise in the articles, headlines, and comments get? (Don't answer that.)

Also, the thought of Big Macintosh doing advanced mathematics makes me happy.

Re:Oh god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904406)

I never thought I'd have to read about My Little Pony here. Today is a sad day for me.

This was all predicted long ago, on a certain April the 1st. OMG, man. Ponies. It's always been ponies.

  Now go, watch the show, become one of us!

Re:Oh god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904610)

I'm trying not to troll here, but if being reminded that a show exists qualifies your day as "sad," it probably wasn't the best of days to begin with.

And you're welcome for not making a flimsy strawman argument questioning the merit of an opinion posited by someone with a leetspeak-heavy username. I assure you, it stressed my willpower to the breaking point not to do so, and has made it a sad day for me as well.

Re:Oh god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904640)

I'm trying not to troll here

Try harder

Re:Oh god. (-1, Offtopic)

bersl2 (689221) | about 3 years ago | (#36904880)

I'm trying not to troll here

Try harder

He was not trolling. Do you want to hear trolling? [413chan.net]

GGP HAS A 7-DIGIT UID! WHAT A NOOB! AND IT'S NOT EVEN IN THE FIRST TWO MILLION!

GP DESERVES A (Score:5, Flamebait)!

</Rarity>

(No, that isn't trolling either. I just wanted an excuse to link to relevant things. because poni.)

Re:Oh god. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 years ago | (#36904666)

I'm sure Rainbow Bright will make a comeback too. Sorry man. When it rains, it pours. :(

Re:Oh god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905254)

Hmm... I see your ponies and Rainbow Brite, and raise you all of the Care Bears (including Care Bare Cousins)...

Your call...

Re:Oh god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36907244)

Rainbow Bright? eww! Gay! - Lyra

Re:Oh god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904882)

I never thought I'd have to read about My Little Pony here. Today is a sad day for me.

What do you have against the Hurd [imgur.com] ?

Bleak. (4, Interesting)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#36904328)

the situation with fair use has become bleak

The situation with fair use has always been bleak. It doesn't help that its an amorphous concepts--uncertainty in the law makes it hard to comply with and has a chilling effect on free speech.

The situation with copyright generally has gone from bad to worse. It used to be it was only a civil offense if a violation was non-commercial. Now it's a criminal violation if the infringement exceeds a certain dollar value--so quoting a song lyric on a medium-sized listserve is arguably enough to make you a felon.

Re:Bleak. (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#36904376)

The situation with fair use has always been bleak. It doesn't help that its an amorphous concepts

... as shown by my polymorphic number disagreement and apostrophe-limited analysis... time to get some sleep. :)

Re:Bleak. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904772)

Now it's a criminal violation if the infringement exceeds a certain dollar value--so quoting a song lyric on a medium-sized listserve is arguably enough to make you a felon.

Every rose has it's thorn

Re:Bleak. (1)

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Re:Bleak. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 3 years ago | (#36905098)

The situation with fair use has always been bleak. It doesn't help that its an amorphous concepts--uncertainty in the law makes it hard to comply with and has a chilling effect on free speech.

Of course, it has to be: any use could be fair, though no use necessarily is. It's totally dependent on the circumstances of the particular case. A bright line rule would inevitably reduce the scope of fair use. Given that it's been applied to uses that were unforeseen at the time that the doctrine was established, or when a codified version appeared, it's been good to have elasticity.

If you want bright line rules, that's fine, just get a separate exception in the statute to cover that particular case. For example, no one ever argues that selling used books is a fair use, because it is handled separately under the first sale exception. Something like a 'non-commercial use by a natural person' exception would be fine, it just demands being handled apart from fair use is all.

Re:Bleak. (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 years ago | (#36906226)

It may be best expressed under a different doctrine, but I would think that a nice, clear set of rules exists for which a use is unquestionably deemed fair, and that anybody that has the gall to sue under something within that box is hit with hefty fines. For more ambiguous usage, we'd still have the four factor test.

Re:Bleak. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905296)

Bullshit. Your "always" is probably about 20 years by 3300 x 2006 miles "big".

There was no copyright anywhere before about 100-150 years ago. And creativity prospered. Not despite, but because of that fact. As multiple studies have shown, that compared the already-in-copyright UK with still-no-Urheberrecht Germany (which still doesn't have copyright but the equivalent to authors' right, which can't be given away and is always implied on everything).

The problem with things like "fair use", the GPL, CC, etc is, that they acknowledge the existence of copyright in the first place. So they acknowledge the delusion, and their thoughts are inside its model of reality. Which is like trying to stop drug abuse by spreading other drugs that don't harm anymore but still are addictive. Not. A. Solution.

I ended the whole thing. Whatever I create, is created as a service. I demand money for doing the service. You know... actual work. And when it's done, I don't have to give a fuck about who does what to it. (Ok, actually, the more it spreads, the better for me. :)

Copyright is the same as asking money for not doing any more actual work.
And "fair use" is like saying: "Well, actually, our not doing any more work is still worth something, but we'll make an exception for you".
It's not worth anything in the first place! Because you've done nothing more in return!

Re:Bleak. (1)

Sique (173459) | about 3 years ago | (#36905748)

Interestingly there are very creative industries who don't have any copyright at all, namely cookery and fashion. You can't neither copyright a recipe nor a fashion design, and I never heard of a crisis of either industries. And no, Coca Cola's recipe is not copyrighted, you have every right to take it and brew your own soda.

Re:Bleak. (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#36907126)

Coca Cola's recipe is a trade secret, and it would be patented if it weren't a trade secret. Copyright has nothing to do with it.

Cookery and Fashion Design (1) do not cost a hundred million to make a product, and (2) in the case of fashion, where you buy something is a huge status symbol. There's not the same need to incentivize new works.

Re:Bleak. (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | about 3 years ago | (#36907146)

Which is like trying to stop drug abuse by spreading other drugs that don't harm anymore but still are addictive. Not. A. Solution.

Actually, it is exactly how to treat opioid addictions: transition to a more manageable drug, namely methadone.

Re:Bleak. (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#36907168)

Yes, so who will pay you enough to make it worth your while in the first place? Without copyright or patent, the money available to the producer of a work is much smaller, so really expensive works, including many prescription drugs and blockbuster motion pictures, will not get made. A agree it's over-done, and there should be shorter copyright terms, but modern society will function better with copyright than without. (Patent included because it has the same issues.)

You are basically going with a purely Lockean earned-income approach. That's a legitimate philosophy, but there are cases where it isn't the best thing for society.

Re:Bleak. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905484)

If only the people on this side of the ocean could learn something from Japan.

Hell, Japan has an entire market in doujinshi [wikipedia.org] , a mighty portion of which is made up of parodies of existing works. There's an bi-annual market that rents out a massive convention center focused *just* on selling these self-published works. And that's only the biggest gathering, ignoring the many many smaller gatherings based on certain themes and franchise, and also ignoring the stores which sell *only* doujinshi materials.

Note that doujinshi isn't just comics, but also games, music, and other...shadier goods. It's a remarkable breadth of items that are, if not publicly praised, at least not put down like a rabid dog by the companies that the goods are based on.

And they even make money off of it! It's not like the artists/writers/musicians/programmers doing the works are being overlooked since they're not for profit or give it away for free! And some even go pro and either become their own companies or sign with a corporation afterward!

Re:Bleak. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36906784)

An even more surprising thing about Japanese doujinshi culture is that Japanese copyright laws make no exemption for parodies as fair use. So under Japanese law, all doujinshi are technically infringing, regardless of whether the doujinshi makes a critique of the original work (and most would fail this definition.)

Doujinshi's function as a breeding ground for future talent has secured its survival; doujinshi event organizers get more grief from morality police than copyright holders. But I think there are two characteristics of the Japanese population in general that allowed doujinshi to first come into being:

1) Japanese have not just a higher level of appreciation, but a stronger urge to participate in art.
2) Japanese have less inclination to take people to court, period.

I think these are two qualities we can all admire.

augh (0, Troll)

jtrainor (820767) | about 3 years ago | (#36904372)

I, for one, hope none of the more... rabid MLP fans show up here. They were run off of Somethingawful for being really fucking creepy, a first for a non-Japanese show.

Re:augh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904416)

No, they weren't run off of SA for being really creepy, they were run off of SA because SA really hates anything that's happy or isn't unabashedly misanthropic. If SA banned anything that was creepy, they would have shit-canned ATDRW a long time ago.

Re:augh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904948)

Sorry but furries who fap to underage ponies are creepy. You can pretend it's about "friendship" or some nonsense all you want, but grown men who like to watch little girly characters are just that: creepy.

Re:augh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905578)

faggot

Re:augh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904424)

Judging by the moderation going on here, it's already begun.

Re:augh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904518)

More like Lazy admins. The haters wouldn't stop bitching and the pony lovers dive right into it with "Gonna Tolerate and Love the shit out of you." If it were any other TV show the mods would do the job of probating thread-shitters but for some reason it's to much work, so off the forums they go. Now back to the SA Tonhou thread.

Re:augh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905074)

SA is really fucking creepy to begin with, as opposed to /. which is also really fucking creepy. Both boards consist of fringe aspergers.

Re:augh (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#36906372)

SA is really fucking creepy to begin with, as opposed to /. which is also really fucking creepy. Both boards consist of fringe aspergers.

Shit, you had to say "fringe", didn't you? Don't you know many will take that as a challenge?

Hasbro is a toy manufacturer first and foremost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904446)

Hasbro doesn't care about the movies or shows as long as it sells the toys. In fact most of their cartoons have been nothing but glorified ads for action figures or dolls.

Re:Hasbro is a toy manufacturer first and foremost (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | about 3 years ago | (#36904600)

Wait, are you saying that there is a way to create new creative works and still generate an income WITHOUT suing pirates?

Re:Hasbro is a toy manufacturer first and foremost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904808)

Wait, are you saying that there is a way to create new creative works and still generate an income WITHOUT suing pirates?

Yes, but Apple has already patented "A method of making money whereby creative works generate indirect income", so that only leaves the rest of us with direct sales or lawsuits.

Re:Hasbro is a toy manufacturer first and foremost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904632)

In fact most of their cartoons have been nothing but glorified ads for action figures or dolls.

Most? So there's an exception out there we should know about?

On the downside (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904464)

Now those damn ponies are all over the net. And I, for one, am not sure which is the lesser of the two evils.

Re:On the downside (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904480)

Copyright is always the greater evil, unless the other evil does actual genocide or shit like that.

Re:On the downside (0)

GammaKitsune (826576) | about 3 years ago | (#36904520)

Clearly you've never been subjected to pony fans.

Clearly it's the ponies. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904466)

Ponies make everything better!

(Seriously though, make-show-to-sell-toys is a good analogue for make-mp3s-to-sell-merch-and-concert-tickets for musicians, so it works out).

Re:Clearly it's the ponies. (1)

Allicorn (175921) | about 3 years ago | (#36906054)

April 1st 2006 was the high-point of Slashdot's history.

Brony here (4, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 3 years ago | (#36904498)

Just before everyone starts hating, it isn't all that bad. I'm normally more a fan of a bit more violent programming, but it is a unique change of pace (and does have the occasional joke that would go over it's target audience's head...good night folks!), and MLP kinda grows on you. Yeah, go figure. I'm not saying it's for everyone, nor am I saying it would be my absolute first choice of cartoon, but don't knock if you haven't tried it.

Re:Brony here (1)

Apothem (1921856) | about 3 years ago | (#36904548)

You make it sound like it's a drug or something......

Re:Brony here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904574)

I'd wager that it is. Because of the positive feelings it evokes, super bright colours, and frequently relatable characters/stories in it, I wouldn't be at all surprised if some psych researchers looked at it and realized "Yeah, there are some similar mechanics going on in the brain when you watch the show as when you're on non-intoxicating drugs".

Re:Brony here (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 years ago | (#36904550)

I haven't tried it, so I won't knock it. I will however, stand over there uncomfortably when others are discussing MLP .

Adult targeted jokes in children's shows, either through secretly naughty bits, pop culture references children won't get, or best of all, secretly naughty pop culture reference bits children won't get, are quite enjoyable, although I'm not sure if I can reach the same appreciation without it being a show I watched as a kid myself.

Re:Brony here (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904704)

I haven't tried it, so I won't knock it. I will however, stand over there uncomfortably when others are discussing MLP .

That's how it starts [photobucket.com] with everyone. It's OK.

The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt it, but the point of Remix Culture [wikipedia.org] is that the listener/viewer is no longer sure as to what's corrupting what.

To that end, I've actually never seen more than a few seconds of the actual show, but who could resist Weird Al Yankovic doing 80s pop songs? Polkas on 45 [youtube.com] ? 30 years later, someone drops a new meme on it, turns a parody into a parody of a parody, and suddenly it's funny all over again.

Just yesterday [slashdot.org] , Pinkie Pie herself showed up in the as an example of how not to do software testing [akamai.net] on the GitHub Bumblebee thread [github.com] on software testing, I think it's OK to admit it. I think the MLP viral fad is funny. I enjoy it. There, I've said it, and I feel better.

After the Presidential Press Conference [youtube.com] announcing the long-overdue demise of OBL, watching the trailer for Serenity [youtube.com] , the lead single [youtube.com] and polka track [youtube.com] off the new Weird Al album, Reggie Watts [youtube.com] , Wu-Tang [youtube.com] , or Rebecca Black [youtube.com] (just kidding) sung by ponies, you won't care.

All links SFW graphics, a few naughty words, and thoroughly NSFS (Not Safe For Sanity).

MOD PARENT UP (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 3 years ago | (#36904974)

He's ponying up the goods...

Re:Brony here (3, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | about 3 years ago | (#36905112)

You got the old preconception of "hidden concept aimed at adults". While MLP has some cultural references, it remains quite tame both on the obvious and non-obvious layer. The hidden part is in "inconsistencies". There are some not-quite-obvious plot holes. Parts, where a character could act, according to the archetype they represent, and prevent all the trouble, yet they didn't and hilarity occurs. And later in the show, similarly inconsistent behavior on the part of the character is displayed with a little more visibility. And near the end, in all obviousness. And as you begin to notice the archetype is a facade for a completely different archetype, suddenly the old events click into place, and the behavior becomes not an awkward omission, but very a intentional act, that adds a whole new layer on the old episode, the story completely retold with a twist.

Just to say the gentle and wise Princess Celestia fully deserved the brony nickname "Trollestia".

Re:Brony here (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | about 3 years ago | (#36906174)

Nopony is perfect.

Well, except Applejack.

Re:Brony here (3, Informative)

elsurexiste (1758620) | about 3 years ago | (#36906728)

My brother is a brony, and he made me watch the show. The first episode I saw is the one in which Pinky Pie goes schizophrenic... yeah, you read it right. I didn't expect this kind of content, so it was quite a shock. The next one was Rarity making dresses, essentially a joke on professions like ours: everyone asked for changes, time was ticking, unhelpful customers, freaking out and messing up... This, once again, surprised me: shows for the little people are devoid of content or flavor, like a rice cracker; MLP had instead some major stuff going on. Not all episodes are like this, mind you, and I haven't seen them all (nor planning to). Just don't discard it just like that! It's not like Rocko's Modern Life, where sexual references are small and sparse, in MLP the interesting themes (shall we call them adult?) work along the plot.

I would argue though that the best thing MLP brought to the world is the OC that flooded 4chan for a while. Also, this [youtube.com] .

Re:Brony here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904788)

Violent programming? You mean like befunge or brainf*ck?

Re:Brony here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36906388)

I swear, this Brony stuff is becoming worse than the Borg.

And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

OMG (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904534)

PONIES!

antilamness filter text goes here

call in the trol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904544)

sure is /b/ in here

nt (4, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | about 3 years ago | (#36904566)

Fair use as a defense has absolutely NOTHING to do with why our rights in the digital world are going away.

The fact is even if you are on rock solid legal ground, you are first of all hamstrung by a severe cost advantage corporations possess by virtue of their large legal budgets and chances are you'll get drilled into the ground and bankrupted before you survive a trial, and second of all your fate is in the hands of twelve people that are probably going to be complete morons about copyright law, thanks to the plaintiff's attorney's striking anyone with even a clue of how things work.

Consequently, anyone who would in theory be entitled to make a parody, satire, or other such fair use of a copyrighted work will, if facing the wrath of a corporation that wishes to censor them, find themselves fighting a huge battle even if the law is on their side, and will more often than not either settle and cough up protection money rather than get bruised in court, or simply not take the risk in the first place.

Big media, knowing this, sees no downside to suing the crap out of anyone and everyone that even remotely looks like they are infringing, and they have no incentive to be reasonable or even negotiate with the smallest semblance of good faith. Compared to an indigent defendant they have nothing to lose from being wrong, whereas the defendant has plenty to lose even if they are completely right.

Bleem is a prime example. They paid for their victory with their lives, as the cost of being sued by Sony wound up bankrupting them, and they never had the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their battle, and they serve as a stern warning to any who would dare defy Sony in the future.

Re:nt (2)

nine932038 (1934132) | about 3 years ago | (#36904738)

I've occasionally wondered why one doesn't simply set up shop in a country that has more equitable IP laws and a more balanced judicial system. It certainly seems like the US has a system that favours deep pockets, but I wonder if the same would be true in other countries. I'm fairly certain that having deeper pockets doesn't necessarily work as well in Canada as in the US, though I admit that my knowledge of legal procedure isn't much beyond microscopic.

Re:nt (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 3 years ago | (#36905680)

Because a Predator missile would slam into the hosting company that dares tarnish important American intellectual property such as Jersey Shore and The Apprentice.

Legal immigration (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#36906442)

I've occasionally wondered why one doesn't simply set up shop in a country that has more equitable IP laws and a more balanced judicial system.

Probably because these come with hefty requirements for lawful resident status.

Re:Legal immigration (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#36906944)

Not to mention that some nations (like the USA) will come and hound you no matter where you are unless you manage to give up your citizenship. There is a procedure for doing this, but in the past some people who have attempted it have effectively been denied.

Re:nt (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 years ago | (#36906444)

Despite it's drawbacks, the US has some of the most expansive exceptions to copyright. In fact, I would even go so far to say that the powerful US entertainment industry is so powerful largely because for most of the 20th century, the US had about the most permissive copyright laws in the industrialized world, which allowed creative industries to flourish. Then flourishing creative industries led to lobbying into the ridiculous situation we have today.

Re:nt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36906544)

And if one cannot found, then start a new one. You will need an army since the Federals of the US might bomb you, and call it a kinetic military action.

joking aside, it is getting ridiculous nowadays. The original Peanuts author is deceased. You know the one that had the actual talent, but now some moron can buy those rights and sponge off of his.

By the way, don't confuse the US for the Federals. They are their own thing, and don't represent all the states anymore.

Re:nt (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | about 3 years ago | (#36907064)

They do. It's called China.
And you can buy just about anything from there, IP be damned! And it's cheap, too.

Re:nt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905396)

Fair use as a defense has absolutely NOTHING to do with why our rights in the digital world are going away.

Exactly. Because fair use is not a right. It is a defense. Resorting to a fair use defense means you acknowledge that infringement is happening, but that the infringement is justifiable within the context of the amorphous concept of "fair use". No amount of difficulty in asserting a fair use defense can constitute an erosion of one's rights because one never, ever, has a right to infringe-- only a defense that one can use to protect oneself against sanctions.

Re:nt (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 years ago | (#36906292)

Fair use is largely rooted in the First Amendment, so yes you do have a right to do what you've done, and if a certain usage is covered by fair use, it is NOT infringement.

Re:nt (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 3 years ago | (#36906118)

I agree, but over the longer term think this is blowback from allowing multi-million dollar lawsuits against major corporations in the 1970s and 80s. People with "nothing to lose" began bringing lawsuits (McDonalds! Your coffee is hot!) and the corporations began settling them based on the risk of a ruling going against them. The lawyers are like gun runners, they sell the leverage to either side when it is cheaper to give in than to contest.

McDonalds KNEW the coffee was too hot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36906896)

But thank you for bringing it up again as the false cry for McDonalds that survives.

McD makes the coffee much hotter because you can't taste it when it's that hot and therefore they can have worse coffee and let it get stale and unappetising (you're buying coffee to DRINK remember: taste matters, even to McD's customers). They had already been told it was hot enough to cause third degree burns (you have to go into hospital for them, it's not just "too hot", it's "too hot like a burning lump of coal" too hot). They had also refuse a settlement where they pay for the expense of a skin graft for the customer who got third degree burns. Therefore it went to court.

Now, contrast and compare to Jammie Thomas who got a 24Mil fine because the jury felt she lied to them (which wasn't the crime she was fined for).

Re:nt (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#36906262)

Lik-Sang is an even better example. They were nailed to the wall for the crimes of providing hardware permitting people to play backups and hardware permitting users to defeat region coding. They were sued so hard they couldn't even afford to show up in court.

Lik-Sang: NEVER FORGET. Die, Sony, Die.

I think the wisest thing is to just increase the volume of work. If that restricts it to low-hanging fruit, so be it. Put that material out there any way you can. Mock their icons at every turn.

Fair use isn't so hard... (1)

Code Yanker (2359188) | about 3 years ago | (#36904572)

When you make a parody of something, think to yourself: "Would the average person (say, your own parents), having seen only the first 30 seconds of the parody, have any reason to suspect the parody was anything more than a parody?" If the answer is yes, your parody isn't fair-usey enough. At least that will be the instructions that the judge gives the jury. Be it right or be it wrong, that's how it works.

Re:Fair use isn't so hard... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#36904590)

When you make a parody of something, think to yourself: "Would the average person (say, your own parents), having seen only the first 30 seconds of the parody, have any reason to suspect the parody was anything more than a parody?"

If the answer is yes, your parody isn't fair-usey enough. At least that will be the instructions that the judge gives the jury. Be it right or be it wrong, that's how it works.

I would pay to see that written in a jury instruction. :)

"Is the defendant's work fair-usey enough?"

You laugh but (1)

Code Yanker (2359188) | about 3 years ago | (#36904654)

that's exactly why our legal system uses juries. For much of our law, it comes down to what a "reasonable person" thinks. And "reasonable person" is legalese for the agregate of six or more random shmoes we pulled off the street. The jury instructions are there to keep these shmoes from having to use legal critical thinking. It's actually a pretty clever system, I think.

Euphemisms (3, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 years ago | (#36904582)

parody sites like Peanutweeter now getting shut down by twitchy lawyers

Lawyers can't do squat except write some fancy papers. The implied threat of violence from the government is what shut down Peanutweeter.

I suggest going to buy stuff from James Hance [jameshance.com] now, before he gets put out of business too. I'll feel especially sorry for his daughter [jameshance.com] when that happens.

Re:Euphemisms (1, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#36904836)

Typical anarchist bullshit. Yes, eventually, society does need to use force to enforce its laws. It's a last resort, but it must exist otherwise no laws would have any weight. That's the drawback of being physical creatures. But the only alternative is to have absolutely no laws at all. Only a crazy person would want that.

The problem isn't that government exists. The problem is that wealthy people are able to twist the government to their liking.

Re:Euphemisms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36906012)

The problem isn't that government exists. The problem is that wealthy people are able to twist the government to their liking.

Which is why we need stronger democracy, which is why anarchists are the billionaire's best friend. It is vital that the most powerful organisation in our society be one which represents every individual's interests equally and stands as a balance to the interests of other large powers. Democracy doesn't ensure that but it at least makes it a possibility.

Re:Euphemisms (0)

improfane (855034) | about 3 years ago | (#36907040)

If you think anarchism is about 'no laws' then you have no idea what you are talking about.

Re:Euphemisms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36907160)

Thanks for explaining why the poster is wrong about anarchism.

Dysfunctional Family Circus (2)

mykepredko (40154) | about 3 years ago | (#36904608)

I'm showing my age, but I still miss the "Dysfunctional Family Circus" and it is probably a great example of copyright owners shutting down a parody site rather than rolling with it.

You could argue that it was over the top (dad as a drug addled, homosexual S&M freak) but I daresay it didn't damage the brand and, in my own case, it gave me reason to start looking at the strip again (I thought it was nauseating when I was 10 years old) simply to start thinking about captions to contribute.

myke

Re:Dysfunctional Family Circus (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 3 years ago | (#36904694)

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, it makes you wonder how Garfield Minus Garfield [garfieldmi...rfield.net] , which is not only allowed to continue but approved by Garfield creator Jim Davis, affected that property. Positively, you would assume, because it doesn't seem like there is any sense to give up free publicity and fan following, and I suspect shutting things like that down is due to dated and uncreative thinking.

And if you like Family Circus, might want to give Dean's Comic Booth [comicbooth.com] a shot (a few are NSFW).

Re:Dysfunctional Family Circus (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#36906290)

DFC was harmful to the brand, GwG isn't. Case by case.

Re:Dysfunctional Family Circus (0)

shenzhen1234 (2324524) | about 3 years ago | (#36904950)

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Totally in support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904840)

I was grateful for Hasbro to have embraced this model of content sharing and creativity from the fans, considering this show is great. We don't need copyright trolls to get in the way of a legitimate and existant community, especially when Hasbro has a good opportunity to promote their franchise and gain respect. I'm sure the free software folks will understand and love this too.

What a Coincidence (1)

Pooua (265915) | about 3 years ago | (#36904886)

Just a few days ago, I was thinking about making a parody of "My Little Pony," and I wondered what the legal repercussions might be.

Re:What a Coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904920)

That's the problem, actually. Too many people are scared to live their lives in peace. The best thing to do is to just do it. And if someone comes up to you about the legal junk, then oh well. At least you enjoyed it while it lasted. I'm willing to comply under any circumstances if that happened to me.

Re:What a Coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905034)

Just a few days ago, I was thinking about making a parody of "My Little Pony," and I wondered what the legal repercussions might be.

But then /. shared this story with me!

Re:What a Coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905442)

Just a few days ago, I was thinking about making a parody of "My Little Pony," and I wondered what the legal repercussions might be.

But then /. shared this story with me!

Sharing comments,

it's an easy feat

and karma makes it all +5 Complete!

That article is flat out awesome (1)

cheros (223479) | about 3 years ago | (#36905002)

My compliments. It doesn't just lay down the problem properly, it also links to a YouTube video that would make any lesser brand manager nervous.

Hats off to the copyright holders here: VERY smart move. I'm to old to say "Respek" but I'll do it anyway - I love remixes :-).

Re:That article is flat out awesome (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | about 3 years ago | (#36906194)

It's not just Youtube videos that they tolerate. The older fanbase has taken to making its own merchandise to make up for the fact that Hasbro isn't catering to it. Shirts, plush toys, et cetera. Hasbro hasn't done anything about it, and as far as I can recall has even given one such group a license to do it.

At the SDCC, people were wearing their bootleg swag and as far as Hasbro was concerned, not a single fuck was given. I guess they don't care about what the periphery demographics do with their IP so long as they keep buying the toys.

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What kind of parodies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905568)

There's some really, REALLY fucked up shit out there...

Who owns the discours? (3, Interesting)

mvdwege (243851) | about 3 years ago | (#36905884)

The last paragraph nails the problem:

"Really it all comes down to a question of control for big media companies," McIntosh says. "They can either attempt to clamp down on remixers and fan communities or they can embrace the new creative digital world and see transformative works as a positive thing for their franchises."

The question we should ask ourselves is: who owns the public discours? I think the keyword is 'public'. You put something out there to invite a reaction, then it should not be reasonable to expect to control it forever. Anything that is not blatant copyright violation or fraud should be fair game.

Editing subbed out to Shitty Wok? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36906232)

Variery reports that when parodies of their latest production started popping up online

You want shitty rice with your shitty chicken?

My little pony is a little girls show... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36906410)

My little pony is a show for little girls. Why don't you "bronies" put on your skirts and hold hands while you watch your show for little girls.

This is less about Fair Use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36906522)

This is less about Fair Use, than it is about a company allowing a limited amount of derivative use because it has enough sense not to let freshman lawyers dictate policy and recognizes when fan activity is to their benefit. Good for them.

Most of the fandom stuff wouldn't survive the Fair Use test, although they would qualify for De Minimis defense.

It's the ponies (1)

thegeekprofessor (1700070) | about 3 years ago | (#36906696)

I'm a "brony" (male in his 30's). I was already a huge animation fan to begin with, but I'm extremely picky. Very few "cartoons" are worth talking about, but the new version of My Little Pony is.. hard to describe in a short space. Let's just say that I consider the 2nd best American cartoon of all time. And it's only in season 1.

Now (1)

gregthebunny (1502041) | about 3 years ago | (#36907210)

you're thinking with ponies!
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