Edited 1 year, 1 month ago

Poll: What is your level of Copyright Knowledge? (93 votes)

I am a Copyright Lawyer. 4%
I am a Lawyer with some working knowledge on Copyright. 3%
I took a course in law and copyright was a big deal. 9%
I am self taught Copyright law hobbyist. 4%
My college courses dabbled in copyright law. 8%
I am interested in Copyright law and picked up some things. 18%
I am NOT interested in Copyright law however I picked up a little. 24%
I don't know much about Copyright law. 22%
I don't know about Copyright law and do not want to know about copyright law. 3%
I cant tell what iss against Copyright law the internet has ruined me. 5%

I keep seeing people talk about stuff that is completely against copyright. I am not a Copyright lawyer just a guy thats interested in it and have picked up a lot over the years so much so I gave a presentation in my Media college course with no problems, and my lecturer warned me it was one of the harder topics to pick.

Right the be blunt about why I would like to know, the discussion about a design for Ryan's memorial T shirt often comes up with a very strong following for the Olly Moss picture of Ryan riding Koffing the Pokemon. A few people even look like they would not budge on buying a memorial T shirt unless it is the Olly Moss design.

It is a wonder idea and would look super awesome.

Except for the really horrible fact of the world that art is partly the property of Nintendo as it depicts a character from one of their Copyrighted properties. Koffing from Pokemon. It is only because of past copyright legal wars that Olly Moss can produce such a work without fear of Nintendo cracking down on him.

The real problem comes is if he sold it or licensed others to print and sell it.

So if he and GB crew ignored Copyright law, got together and decided to make the T-shirt....they couldn't since most definitely CBSi lawyers will tell him flat out no. CBSi would be liable and could be sued.

Yes we see hundreds of small time webcomicers or people at conventions selling their art/T shirts of video game characters or what have you.

These people do not have a license and are doing so illegally hell everyone's avatars are breaking copyright. Everyones desktop wallpapers are.

The internet has made the old copyright law (which is our current yet dates to the 70s or 80s depending on your country) an utter mess. So I can see why people are ignorant of copyright law.

Throw me in a court room and Ill lose, however I know enough in order not to got to court.

So I would like to just get a gauge on people's level of knowledge on Copyright law since I know I ain't the norm for knowing as much as I do.

#1 Posted by HoboZero (187 posts) -

First, if you are a layman and interested in copyright laws and how they apply in the real world, I would strongly suggest following Mike Masnik's blog at www.techdirt.com. They discuss copyright and trademark cases, and frequently have guest posts from analysts and lawyers. Fascinating stuff.

As for the Olly Moss t-shirt design (keeping in mind that IANAL), it could easily be considered a "transformative work" - when an artist uses a copyrighted work or item as a base and then adds sufficient elements to it that it is considered a new work. Remember the Obama "Hope" poster image from his first campaign? That was based on a photo, the rights to which were owned by the original photographer (or the magazine that was paying him; the rights in this case got sort of ugly); however, the poster artist was granted copyright over his work, because the modifications were sufficient to consider the work unique on its own merits.

Now, would this be enough to allow GB or Olly Moss to profit from the tribute image? Who can say - most likely the lawyers, if they were involved, would probably say why bother taking the risk in the first place. Remember, even if you win, going to court ain't cheap.

If you are interested in this stuff, I recommend checking out techdirt.com. Unless you have high blood pressure - cause some of the stories about copyright & patent trolls on their are absolutely infuriating.

#2 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Not a lot, honestly. I think I have vague ideas about what intellectual property and fair use mean (although to be fair, fair use is already incredibly murky to begin with), but that's about it. I remember that somebody on the forums actually posted some blog posts about this very subject and some other legal concepts as they might apply to games. I don't remember his username, but I do know that he has a Phoenix Wright avatar and posted a few blogs on the Let's Play controversy, if any of that helps.

#3 Posted by mtcantor (947 posts) -

I am an attorney who studied IP law pretty obsessively in law school. Copyright is fascinating, but it is also a complete mess.

It gets even worse when you realize that some of these companies enforce their copyright claims against the little guys, seemingly for no good reason, because they actually HAVE to, or else they run the risk of weakening or losing their copyright entirely.

#4 Edited by falserelic (5412 posts) -

I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to the copyright law. All I know is don't copy someone's shit without permission, or else face consequences in dat ass.

#5 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

Here's how it works. I put it up on youtube. It doesn't get taken down/my account is still up it's okay or I slipped through the cracks. Copyright law.

#6 Edited by EvilNiGHTS (1093 posts) -

Small amount of copyright knowledge after studying media law as part of the NCTJ, but only in relation to publishing photographs. Not something you really need to think about after you've passed your exam, either.

#7 Posted by Fattony12000 (7310 posts) -

I didn't inhale.

#8 Edited by CaLe (3961 posts) -

From what I understand, Copyright means that if I copy something it's my right to do whatever I want with it, especially if it makes me money.

#9 Posted by Coafi (1483 posts) -

It's easy.

  1. Don't use someone's shit and claim it as your own, or make money with it.
  2. If you make something, and don't want anyone to use/make money. Claim a copyright.
  3. If something is under CC license (Creative Common), you or anyone can use it (sometimes you have to ask the artist's permission).
  4. If it's public domain, have a party with it.
#10 Posted by TobbRobb (4603 posts) -

I know enough to not fuck me over. But I've never read up on it in any specifics.

#11 Posted by Hamst3r (4481 posts) -

I might as well be a copyright lawyer.

#12 Posted by Akyho (1601 posts) -

@hobozero: I shall have to check into that. I had considered maybe checking into the realm of being pursuing Copyright law as a career...however I am utterly dyslexic and can't pass basic College courses due to it. Let alone taxing and word specific world of law. However as a hobby or sorts I will check into that site.

@mtcantor said:

I am an attorney who studied IP law pretty obsessively in law school. Copyright is fascinating, but it is also a complete mess.

It gets even worse when you realize that some of these companies enforce their copyright claims against the little guys, seemingly for no good reason, because they actually HAVE to, or else they run the risk of weakening or losing their copyright entirely.

Oh yes, my presentation on copyright law I ended with a quote from Doctor Who when he explains about Time Travel.

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.

There are arguments and then there are counter arguments. Ultimately the court room is an arena and if you're good enough you could argue any case to a win. However there are still laws within laws dictating laws.... again...wibbly wobbly world of law.

Also yeah you run a gamble when you are Illegally using someone's copyright. It could be a company that is aggressive or passive. Hell a dude was try sue every company using the word Edge, he is a crazy guy. However the entire law team at Bethesda thought it was a good idea to try to enforce their copyright on Mojang's Scrolls game.

Copyright law is a wonderful and mad world. Working with old wordings and laws and applying them to the modern connected world. Allows for a wild west to happen.

Here's how it works. I put it up on youtube. It doesn't get taken down/my account is still up it's okay or I slipped through the cracks. Copyright law.

Youtube is a Copyright lawyers bane.

#13 Edited by Patman99 (1579 posts) -

Everyone might as well select the top option. It's the internet and everyone claims to be an expert on the internet......

Yes, copy rights and pokeyman. I conclude that this case be a touchdown awarded to the plaintiff.

#14 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3229 posts) -

I know everything about copyright law, but, as a principle, I don't believe in it.

The law, I mean.

#15 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

I blame Disney.

I don't know where that puts me on the expert scale. Probably near the top.

#16 Edited by MikeJFlick (443 posts) -

I know that if I copy right the first time, It will paste properly, I hate when I copy wrong, but sometimes that's what you get for assuming ctrl-c will work 100% of the time.

#17 Posted by OGinOR (314 posts) -

@geraltitude: Is it that you don't believe in protecting the rights of the creative or just the mess that is the law around it and trying to find a practical way to enforce it?

#18 Edited by Brackynews (4065 posts) -

My career(s) involve understanding copyright to the point where I have physical, hand annotated copies of national bills, and books on intellectual property law more broadly. Only taken a couple university-level classes, but lots of workshops.

There are a "few simple things" to remember (just the first sentence of each point, with explanations after):

  1. There's no such thing as "copyright police". An owner has to make a claim that their work was stolen.
  2. Don't confuse copyright with other IP law. Like trademarks, patents, or fair use/dealing.
  3. Copyright law only applies to the country you live in, not where the work was originally produced. i.e. Japanese copyright law doesn't matter in China. This is about sovereignty, and countries choose to respect other national laws.
  4. Anything you create is automatically copyrighted. Thanks to Victor Hugo and the Berne Convention (now in 165 countries).
  5. Because your work is automatically copyrighted, you have to declare waiving any of your rights. This is how Creative Commons functions. It's also in the Terms of Service of websites that you allow them to distribute what you post.

It's pretty basic in scope, the "right to control copies" and profit from your work, not the "right to control its use however" like trademarks and patents cover. You can strengthen your claim to that ownership and its defence by 1) including a © symbol with the creators name and year of creation, (C) doesn't count, legally. 2) Registering the work formally with your government's copyright office.

Other fun facts: The United States government produces all its works under the Public Domain. This includes NASA images. British and Commonwealth countries have Crown Copyright, meaning all government works belong to the Queen.

#19 Posted by Branthog (5563 posts) -

Considering I built and ran a very popular auction site for more than a decade and dealt with the DMCA almost since inception and dealt with lawyers and copyright holders and claims and the music industry and the movie industry as well as trademark for most of that decade - I'd say a far more than most people who are not legal professions.

#20 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3229 posts) -

@oginor: Yeah, just the law being a mess in general. Not just copyright law but law in general is just a massive head ache that tends to favor those with money. The law is a net that catches small flies - the big ones pass through.