Copyright/Intellectual Property

Andy Warhol Estate Sues Photog Over Prince Photo Copyright Fight

16 April 2017
Comments Off on Andy Warhol Estate Sues Photog Over Prince Photo Copyright Fight

From PetaPixel:

The estate of legendary artist Andy Warhol has filed a lawsuit against New York City photographer Lynn Goldsmith. The reason? Goldsmith believes Warhol violated her copyright by turning one of her portraits of Prince into a painting.

The New York Daily News reports that the lawsuit is a “preemptive strike” against the photographer before she gets a chance to file a copyright infringement lawsuit first.

The photo at the center of the battle is a publicity portrait of the late musician Prince, captured by Goldsmith back in 1981. Three years after the photo was made, Warhol decided to create his “Prince” series of paintings and “drew inspiration” from the picture to create his works.

Goldsmith is accusing the Warhol painting of being an infringement of her photo, but the Warhol estate is arguing that the paintings were transformative enough to be considered new works.

“Although Warhol often used photographs taken by others as inspiration for his portraits, Warhol’s works were entirely new creations,” writes Warhol estate lawyer Luke Nikas in the lawsuit. “As would be plain to any reasonable observer, each portrait in Warhol’s Prince Series fundamentally transformed the visual aesthetic and meaning of the Prince Publicity Photograph.”

. . . .

“It is a crime that so many ‘artists’ can get away with taking photographers’ images and painting on them or doing whatever to them without asking permission of the ‘artist’ who created the image in the first place,” the photographer wrote.

Link to the rest at PetaPixel

Share

In Music, DRM Is Back While Ownership Is Going Away

13 April 2017

From Copyright and Technology:

The RIAA’s annual revenue figures for recorded music are a goldmine of information about the state, health, and direction of the music industry. The 2016 figures that the RIAA published at the end of March generated a few common headlines in the trade and business press:

  • Recorded music revenue in the United States is finally growing again, up 11% over last year after five years of flat-to-slight-decline;
  • Subscription streaming revenue growth accelerated, more than doubling since 2015.  It is now the majority source (51%) of recorded music revenue, even counting CDs and other physical products;
  • The vinyl renaissance is hitting its limits, as growth has slowed and vinyl looks headed for a new peak of 6% of total industry revenue.

But beneath those headlines lie a few more developments which indicate fundamental tipping points in music’s digital transformation.

First, and most relevant to us here, is something I’ve predicted but the RIAA numbers make it official: encrypted digital music accounts for more revenue than DRM-free music (digital or analog). In other words — if you define DRM as any encrypted means of content delivery — DRM for music is back.

. . . .

[O]nly 30% of digital music comes from DRM-free sources while 70% is encrypted in some way.

. . . .

The only modes of digital music delivery that don’t use encryption today are CDs, downloads, and many simulcast streams of AM/FM radio signals. CDs have fallen so far from their 1999 peak that they now account for only 15% of total revenue. Download revenue is also in free-fall and now accounts for 24% of total revenue.

. . . .

An even more important indication of change is the shift in consumer preference from “ownership” to “access” models. This won’t come as a shock to those who have been watching the music industry evolve for a while, but it’s reality now: people have found that when music is available everywhere on any device, it’s not so important to own it anymore.

Link to the rest at Copyright and Technology

Share

Australia’s copyright reform could bring millions of books and other reads to the blind

4 April 2017

From The Conversation:

Proposed changes to Australia’s copyright law should make it easier for people to create and distribute versions of copyrighted works that are accessible to people with disabilities.

The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and other Measures) Bill was introduced to Parliament on Wednesday.

If passed, it would enable people with disabilities to access and enjoy books and other material in formats they can use, such as braille, large print or DAISY audio.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has long been calling for action to end the “world book famine” – only 5% of books produced in Australia are available in accessible formats. This means that people with vision impairment and other reading disabilities are excluded from a massive proportion of the world’s knowledge and culture.

Under the current law, educational institutions and other organisations can produce accessible copies of books, but the system is slow and expensive. Only a small number of popular books are available, and technical books that people need for work are often out of reach.

Technology should make accessibility much easier, but publishers have been slow to enable assistive technologies.

. . . .

Amazon’s Kindle, for example, used to allow text-to-speech to help blind people read books, but Amazon gave in to publishers’ fears and allowed them to disable the feature. Apple’s electronic books are much better, but there are still major gaps.

Link to the rest at The Conversation

Share

Stephen King Sued Over The Dark Tower

3 April 2017

From TMZ:

Stephen King stole the idea for his main man in “The Dark Tower” series from a famous comic book character also known as a gunslinger … according to a new suit.

The creator of “The Rook” comics claims King’s protagonist, Roland Deschain, is based on his main character, Restin Dane. He says Deschain has striking similarities to Dane other than just their initials — both are “time-traveling, monster-fighting, quasi-immortal, romantic adventure heroes.”

“The Rook” creator also points out King’s Deschain dresses like a cowboy despite not being from the Old West — just like Restin Dane — and the towers in both books look the same.

. . . .

According to the docs … the Restin Dane character was in more than 5 million comic magazines from 1977-1983 and King admits he read those stories. The first book in King’s ‘Dark Tower’ series was released in 1982.

 

Link to the rest at TMZ and thanks to Michael for the tip.

PG says TMZ doesn’t do a very good job of covering legal matters.

 

Share

How this Texas woman changed the lives of the blind and impaired with creation of audiobook studio

28 March 2017
Comments Off on How this Texas woman changed the lives of the blind and impaired with creation of audiobook studio

From The Houston Chronicle:

Carolyn Randall is enthralled by words. She’s been so as long as her 90-year-old memory can recall.

Decades before she’d create the Texas State Library’s audiobook recording studio, a project that has helped thousands of blind and impaired people, Randall was a bookworm growing up in Champaign, Illinois. She read historical fiction and scripts by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

“I was a slow reader,” said Randall, now a Houston resident. “I paid attention to each word.”

. . . .

Shortly after, Randall heard that the University of Houston needed help to record audiobooks. She began volunteering weekly.

In the late 1960s, Robert Levy founded what was then Taping for the Blind, a Houston audiobook and radio program now called Sight into Sound. The news made its way to Randall, who, upon hearing it, remembered an uncle who had once said he needed audiobooks while recovering from cataract surgery. She had an idea.

“I thought, ‘I can do this in an even better way than at the University of Houston,'” Randall said. “That’s how I really got started.”

She stayed with the program for about 10 years before moving with Howard to Austin.

Living in the capitol meant an opportunity to volunteer at the state library.

Randall couldn’t pass it up. She began with small tasks, “filing whatever they needed,” she said. But she quickly cultivated relationships. She also noticed there was no state-sponsored studio to record audiobooks. The library’s Talking Book Program had for decades used an audiobooks archive provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. But no state resource existed for audiobooks and authors specific to Texas.

Randall lobbied for funding to outfit a room with recording booths. Volunteers were recruited, and the studio was born in 1978, with Randall as its director.

. . . .

Almost 40 years later, more than 5,000 titles (books, magazines, etc.) have been recorded at the studio, which in total has a collection of more than 10,000 titles in multiple languages. The studio has about 100 volunteers, and it services roughly 18,000 blind and impaired people statewide. It also offers some books in braille.

Link to the rest at The Houston Chronicle

Of course, PG was reminded of 17 U.S. Code § 121, which provides, in part:

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement of copyright for an authorized entity to reproduce or to distribute copies or phonorecords of a previously published, nondramatic literary work if such copies or phonorecords are reproduced or distributed in specialized formats exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities.

. . . .

“authorized entity” means a nonprofit organization or a governmental agency that has a primary mission to provide specialized services relating to training, education, or adaptive reading or information access needs of blind or other persons with disabilities;

Share

Stop the Presses!

17 February 2017

From author and attorney Mindy Klasky:

REBEL AUTHOR TAKES ON MIGHTY EMPIRE

(A press release for our times)

A little more than a week ago, in a city not far away, author Mindy Klasky was putting the finishing touches on her new novel, then called REBEL RISING. Klasky had worked on REBEL for the past four years, adapting an earlier work that had failed to find its audience, allegedly because certain large store book buyers did not care for stories about children who rebel against the religion of their parents.

Due for release on February 28, with cover designed, ads purchased, and everything set to go, Klasky prepared to press the button for pre-orders to go live. But then, an ominous shadow darkened the launch pad:  Disney announced a new Star Wars novel titled — you guessed it — REBEL RISING.

Link to the rest at Mindy Klasky

Here’s a link to Mindy Klasky’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Share

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes 375,000 Images of Fine Art Available Under a Creative Commons License: Download, Use & Remix

15 February 2017

From Open Culture:

What do you need to make art? Why, art, of course: the works that have come before provide inspiration, establish a tradition to follow and expand, and now, in our digital age, even provide the very materials to work with. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has assured us that we should feel free to “use, remix, and share” their latest batch of 375,000 digitized artworks of a variety of forms and from a variety of eras in any which way we like. In partnership with Creative Commons, they’ve released them all under the latter’s CC0, or “no rights reserved” license, which places them “as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.”

Link to the rest at Open Culture

PG says this appears to make these specific works of art (not the entire collection of the Met) available for use on book covers.

Here’s a link to Introducing Open Access at The Met for more information.

And here’s In the Library by Edwin Austin Abbey, released under the Met’s CC0 license:


and a photo taken by Alfred Stieglitz in Paris in 1908

and a Migrant Pea Picker’s Makeshift Home, Nipomo, California, taken by Dorothea Lange in 1936

Share

Logan Composer Is Getting Sued Over Allegedly Stolen Lucifer Theme Song

13 February 2017

From i09:

Warner Bros. has a hell of a problem on its hands. A pair of musicians are suing the company and Logan composer Marco E. Beltrami for using the theme song they helped create for the show without giving them money or credit.

 Robert and Aron Marderosian, known collectively as The Mardos and Heavy Young Heathens, filed the suit in California last week. It claims that Beltrami, who did the Academy Award-winning scores for 3:10 to Yuma and The Hurt Locker, reached out to the brothers for help in creating a theme song for the show. According to the lawsuit, Beltrami “was not able to capture the essence of what Warner Bros. and NS Pictures were looking for,” and that Warner Bros. had rejected all of Beltrami’s submissions.

The Mardos agreed to create a theme song for the show in exchange for co-writer credit, as well as retention of all publishing rights if the show went to series. However, according to the lawsuit, Beltrami passed off the composition as his own and didn’t tell Warner Bros. about his agreement with the brothers after they chose the six-second excerpt that was ultimately used in Lucifer.

Link to the rest at i09

Share

Working for free (but working for yourself)

7 February 2017

From Seth Godin:

Freelancers, writers, designers, photographers–there’s always an opportunity to work for free.

There are countless websites and causes and clients that will happily take your work in exchange for exposure.

And in some settings, this makes perfect sense. You might be making a contribution to a cause you care about.

. . . .

But just because you’re working for free doesn’t mean you should give away all your upsides.

Consider the major publishing platforms that are happy to host your work, but you need to sign away your copyright.

. . . .

Now, more than ever, you have the power to say “no” to that.

Because they can’t publish you better than you can publish yourself.

It doesn’t matter if these are their standard clauses. They might be standard for them, but they don’t have to be standard for you and for your career.

Link to the rest at Seth Godin

PG says “This is our standard contract” may be the oldest con known to humankind to persuade someone (including an author) to sign a terrible contract.

The “standard contract”, “standard clause” or “standard language” designation is designed to make the author think that everyone agrees to those terms. Who is an author, particularly a new author, to dare to ask for something different than all the established authors accept?

This is baloney. Publishing contracts are changed all the time.

Publishing contracts of a certain era were formatted so the changes in “standard” language were shown in a different font or otherwise highlighted. PG has seen such contracts that included dozens of changes for authors who were not best-sellers. Many agents have a set of standard changes they always make to the “standard contract” from a particular publisher.

Most publishers no longer use stone tablets for their contracts. Microsoft Word can change a “standard contract” to a fairer contract in an eyeblink.

PG says, “Ask and ye shall receive.” And if you don’t receive, you can walk away and get a better deal from someone else. The Amazon or Draft2Digital or Smashwords, etc., options are always open.

Another negotiating tip – Always have an alternative planned before you begin a business negotiation. Negotiation theorists call this a BATNA – Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. Part of the psychology of the “standard contract” ploy is the assumption that the author is mentally and emotionally committed to having a book published by a particular publisher, working with a famous editor, seeing big stacks of books in Barnes & Noble, etc.

Prior to sending the contract to the author, many publishers encourage an author, particularly a first-time author, to think everything will be sunshine and lollipops. The author has told all of her relatives and friends that Big Time Publishing has accepted her book, imagined what it will be like to fly on a private jet to Paris for a book signing, what she will say during her Nobel Prize acceptance speech, etc., etc., etc.

These sorts of things put immense pressure on an author to not walk away from a bad deal. PG suggests that an author may want to defer any announcement until after a fair contract is negotiated and signed. However, he knows this can be a very difficult thing to do, so perhaps a cautionary element should be added to any pre-contract announcements, “But I’m going to make sure the contract and all the details are right before this is official.”

Share

Removal of Personally Identifiable Information From Registration Records

3 February 2017

From The Federal Register:

The U.S. Copyright Office is issuing a final rule to allow authors and claimants to replace or remove personally identifiable information (‘‘PII’’) from the Office’s online registration catalog. This rule allows authors and claimants, or their authorized representatives, to request the replacement or removal of certain PII that is requested by the Office and collected on a registration application, such as a home addresses or personal phone numbers, from the Office’s internet-accessible public catalog, while retaining that information in the Office’s offline records as required by law. The rule also codifies an existing practice that removes extraneous PII, such as driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, banking information, and credit card information, on the Office’s  own volition or upon request by authors, claimants, or their authorized representatives.

Link to the rest at The Federal Register and thanks to Laura, who reads the Federal Register’s table of contents every day, for the tip.

Share
« Previous PageNext Page »
Share