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 Posted: Mon Oct 18th, 2010 09:43 pm
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bkahn
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Mana: 
I just found two videos on YouTube when I googled my name. Neither asked for or received permission. One is an actor doing an audition using a monologue of mine that was published in a monologue book.  I have no idea who this person is. Another is a poor quality video clip of a portion of a short play of mine that I wrote and directed for a festival. (There is an official video that had I been asked, I would probably have provided to the actor.)

Has anyone else had this or similar type of thing happen? Any suggestions on how to proceed, if at all?

I had a performance of my work show up before, but I let it go. Now the numbers are increasing...

Thanks.

Barbara

 

 

 

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 Posted: Tue Oct 19th, 2010 01:40 am
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in media res
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Barbara,

Quandary!

Never had this happen. I have given permission for actors to use monologues for audition pieces, "But be sure you mention as "written by." But nothing on the internet. But actors use pieces all the time for auditions. But they are for private usage in one on one personal audtions.

If you think it could be good publicity for your work, right now, I'd say let it go. You know the old show business adage, "Say what you want about me, just spell my name correctly."

If it is embarrassingly performed, I would contact and pay a lawyer friend - you must have one - to write a standard "Removal" letter, only for your continued usage as you have paid him/her - with all the standard legal threats, etc. with the attorney's name on the letter. Even without the attorney's name on the letter, which the attorney may prefer, just the implication/threat of legal action is usually enough to scare people from continuing.

I just saw "The Social Network" yesterday. About Facebook and the personalities involved. They are no different from the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Morgans, Goulds or Rockefellers, etc. etc,... despite their youthfulness. We tend to forget, all those historical names were very young men once. The same petty squabbling and quarrels were intertwined with money and ego and jealously and sexuality back then just as they are today. It is a great movie.

In my case, the question would be, "What do I do with my 20th Century Brain confronting a 21st Century technology?" It can be quite useful, and also quite destructive. You will have to decide for yourself which each incident of usage is for you. As will we all.

The generation - the millennials? - currently has no concept of copyright law. Unless confronted with it. Listen to the character Sean Parker egotistically rant in "The Social Network" how he changed the music industry forever. Well, as much as i despise his thinking, morality (whatever that means) and his rationale...he did change it!

Good luck with your decision. But I would definitely contact an attorney friend for advice for the future. Someone could do such a good or bad job it could go "viral." I always tell people to "plan for the worst case scenario" in anything.

Even in "The Social Network" the attorneys played a vital role in compensation!

But, kudos to you for keeping up-to-date on your work posted on the internet.

Best,

in media res

Last edited on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 03:34 am by in media res

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 Posted: Tue Oct 19th, 2010 01:51 am
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Paddy
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I agree with IMR...usually do. You could send an email yourself threatening a lawyer. Even a lawyer friend might charge you...and perhaps they should.

I have actors and playwrights sign waivers. They don't have to, and if they don't, it doesn't go up.

Here's a special note....not sure if US is called the same....

If your actor happens to be ACTRA....then although they can perform your play without special exeptions....once you put it up as a film, it becomes a film, and I do know in Canada, suddenly, that is a no no.

Paddy

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 Posted: Tue Oct 19th, 2010 03:19 pm
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in media res
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After sleeping on this, I think of what my wife always says, "Nip it in the bud. The longer you wait, the harder it is going to be." From experience she is about 99% right.

So, Barbara, my wife is 99% very wise in business and personal matters. I am a bit more of a soft touch, but she has always been absolutely correct that when I do have to let the hammer down, it is harder, as other parties get too comfortable in their pressing the envelope and continue to press it further.

So, it is your call. But I would advise an attorney or threat of an attorney. But the thing is the threat of an attorney gives them a crack in the window. edd had a problem here in Chicago at Gorilla Tango theatre not doing his play as written. If you can find the thread or contact edd, he had very good language in his letter to them, and it worked.

Paddy, there are sites like Stagechannel here that allow Actors Equity approved videos to be on theatre's websites or on Stagechannel's site. Theatres do it all the time. In fact it is almost expected now that audiences go to the theatre's site and watch a short video of the current show. But, the unapproved stuff, such as Barbara's situation, has potential to get out of hand, unless prior approval is given.

Without your permission, their is no "Fair Usage."

As I said, this current generation has no concept of copyright law. Kind of like China. They totally ignore it.

best,

in media res

Last edited on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 03:24 pm by in media res

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 Posted: Tue Oct 19th, 2010 03:30 pm
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Paddy
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I'm curious...if you are allowed thirty seconds of music on stage without paying royalties, or you can use a couple of lines and it's considered fair usage, I wonder how much of a play people can post without the playwright's permission.

Paddy

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 Posted: Tue Oct 19th, 2010 04:13 pm
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Theatrefolk
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Mana: 
Paddy wrote: I'm curious...if you are allowed thirty seconds of music on stage without paying royalties, or you can use a couple of lines and it's considered fair usage, I wonder how much of a play people can post without the playwright's permission.

Paddy

This is a big misconception about copyright law and fair use (or "fair dealing" here in Canada). There's no such generic rule about "a couple of lines" of a play or "thirty seconds" of a song. Every case is different depending on use and subject to interpretation. Always consult a lawyer before using any portion of anyone's work without permission.

There's a good post about copyright myths at http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

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 Posted: Tue Oct 19th, 2010 04:24 pm
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bkahn
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Mana: 
Thanks for all the feedback. I think this is a very important issue for all of us, as technological advancements escalate with breakneck speed.

I located the actor I didn't know on FB and left a non-threatening but stern message. She replied very quickly, thanked me for contacting her directly instead of suing her, and said she removed the video from YouTube; any other websites using it obtained it from YouTube (which only reinforces the dangers).

I recently heard, I don't remember where, a comment that all art should be free. It seems that many people under a certain age have been conditioned to believe this. What a terrible attitude toward the blood, sweat and tears that go into our creations, not to mention the expenses. It is up to all of us to be vigilant and remind them that copyright law is just that--law--and any infringement is illegal. The music industry has already been decimated, and publishing is under threat. I hope we can fend off the probably inevitable as long as possible.

There is a coalition that has formed to go after copyright protections. I'll look for the link and post it here.

 

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 Posted: Tue Oct 19th, 2010 04:30 pm
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Paddy
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Mana: 
Thank you, Ma'am.

I went to read...and it's posted by a friend of mine, Brad, whom I've worked in theatre with.

Small virtual world.

Interesting information...I had actually been on my mark to write a spoof of a British tv show, and wasn't sure what the law was.

Now I know.

Get set.

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 Posted: Wed Oct 20th, 2010 09:12 pm
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carlblong
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I recently came across this letter written by Gary Larson, kindly but firmly asking people not to digitize and post his Far Side cartoons without permission.

http://www.portmann.com/farside/

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 Posted: Sat Mar 9th, 2013 03:31 pm
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Paddy
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Hm, Barbara. I found this post, interestingly, because I was googling a similar issue.

The waters are muddy regarding youtube. If someone did a production of your play, with your permission, can they upload it to Youtube? That's what I'm trying to find out. And does it infringe on copyright if it's published, as it's entirely a different medium.

Our plays are performed in the street, where there is no expectation of privacy. Confused.

Most certainly, someone who found your monologue in a book, and performed it and uploaded it, most certainly not. I think you could send a cease and desist order.

I'm bringing this thread back up, to see if anyone has learned anything in the past two years.

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 Posted: Sat Mar 9th, 2013 05:19 pm
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carlblong
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This is why contracts are good.

My understanding is that one would need to get several ok's to post a production on Youtube: playwright, director, fight or dance choreographer, composer, librettist, and actors. 

Many contracts are written to allow the producers to use actor likenesses in video, print, or web.  Similarly, playwright contracts often include clauses that allow portions of the production to be recorded and made public for marketing purposes.  The contract with Grain of Sand Theatre (DC, of which I am literary manager), looks like this:

1.      The Playwright grants the Producer or its agents the permission to make video, audio, or photographic recordings of the Play for the purpose of promoting and publicizing the Play, or archival purposes, provided that the Producer earns no money directly, or indirectly other than in the form of box office receipts, from the sale, rental, or distribution of such recordings. 
a.       The Producer grants that the promotional materials released for public viewing may not exceed a total of 10% of the Play.  Each public or promotional video or audio presentation may not exceed a total of sixty (60) seconds of recorded material. 
b.      Except as provided herein, no part of the Play may be recorded, by audio, video, or any other means, whether now known or hereinafter invented without the Playwright’s additional written consent.  Any such unauthorized recording will be a willful violation of the Playwright’s copyright.
I believe monologues are fair use if they come from a play.  The US copyright fair use page is http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

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 Posted: Tue Mar 12th, 2013 08:19 pm
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katoagogo
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I think a lot of this argument sounds like the music industry a decade ago. I think it's better to create connection than it is to put the kibosh on it.

You were probably pretty happy to get the monologue published in an audition book. The purpose of that was to nudge your work and to give actors some new material to use. How is this YouTube snippet not an audition? How is this actor not using your piece as intended - as their calling card of talent - just like it is a calling card for your talent too?

What the music industry used to do was make people performing and posting tributes or using the songs in a video remove the posts. But that has changed. As of last month the number of tributes posted are counted and added to a song's rating on the top 100. Instead of fighting it, they now post links to purchase the songs.

This is an opportunity to be cool, to share the work, and let artists know how to share the credit.
______________________________________________________

For a fun take on an artist and tributes - check this out:
http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/gotye-pulls-together-the-ultimate-somebody-i-used-to-know-youtube-tribute/story-e6frfn09-1226449194797

Last edited on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 08:30 pm by katoagogo

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 Posted: Wed Apr 17th, 2013 07:47 pm
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Londonlive
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katoagogo wrote: I think a lot of this argument sounds like the music industry a decade ago. I think it's better to create connection than it is to put the kibosh on it.

You were probably pretty happy to get the monologue published in an audition book. The purpose of that was to nudge your work and to give actors some new material to use. How is this YouTube snippet not an audition? How is this actor not using your piece as intended - as their calling card of talent - just like it is a calling card for your talent too?

What the music industry used to do was make people performing and posting tributes or using the songs in a video remove the posts. But that has changed. As of last month the number of tributes posted are counted and added to a song's rating on the top 100. Instead of fighting it, they now post links to purchase the songs.

This is an opportunity to be cool, to share the work, and let artists know how to share the credit.
______________________________________________________

For a fun take on an artist and tributes - check this out:
http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/gotye-pulls-together-the-ultimate-somebody-i-used-to-know-youtube-tribute/story-e6frfn09-1226449194797

It is true that it is up to the writer (or maybe better to say "creator") as to what s/he does on a case by case basis. However, the actor should have contacted the creator and probably would have been able to come an arrangement before broadcasting on Youtube (although maybe the publisher has a say in this?). And the actor would show he or she is a serious professional artist by putting on the Youtube video that he or she had the permission of the writer and, if applicable, the publisher. This may have also made a good impression on other professionals with the opportunity of employing the actor. And he or she might have had a new contact, developing a relationship with the writer. This is a business.

 The question is not about an audition - a private one-to-one experience even when it is done through videocam  - but about broadcasting. Just as somebody can't digitize a play which is still under copyright and publish it on the internet without the publisher's and author's permission.  It's still publication.

Of course, any creator is going to weigh up pros and cons, but any professional worth their salt who is also aiming to make a living from his or her work should always contact the creator and make a deal and the deal could be to broadcast a small snippet for free or a minimal token amount. Sometimes the writer will say no. That's the way it goes. Find something else to broadcast.

IMO, with so many people having the opportunity to become creators, the basics of copyright should be taught from as early an age as possible, not only so that youngsters understand why they shouldn't be ripping off others who are simply trying to make a living, but so that they themselves understand how to exploit their own creations and do not get ripped off.

OK, that's me done :)

Last edited on Wed Apr 17th, 2013 07:50 pm by Londonlive

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 Posted: Wed Apr 17th, 2013 07:49 pm
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Paddy
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I believe with an audition, there is an expectation of privacy.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 17th, 2013 08:08 pm
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Londonlive
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Paddy wrote: I believe with an audition, there is an expectation of privacy.
Of course. I think maybe some artistes are becoming confused because video cameras are also present within audition rooms and some auditions are done through video link. But this is still one-to-one, not for public broadcast. I still maintain basics of copyright (it can get a bit complex sometimes but there are still clear basic principles) should be taught early.

OK, I obviously wasn't quite done :)

PS Or are you saying, Paddy, that it may not be the artiste who has posted the video but those who are doing the auditioning and there is a carelessness by some about what is done with videos taken in auditions? It's just occurred to me that may be your meaning?

Last edited on Wed Apr 17th, 2013 08:14 pm by Londonlive

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 Posted: Thu Apr 18th, 2013 04:33 am
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in media res
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Mana: 
Scott Turow weighed in on Defense/Validity/Enforcement of copyright in an April 7 2013 op-ed column in the NY Times.

It is called "The Slow Death of the American Author."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/opinion/the-slow-death-of-the-american-author.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


Remember, lack of copyright law is one of the reasons that made Mark Twain go broke, which is why he toured the world to lecture in order to make money. Kind of what is happening to Rock bands now. Their sales are down due to outright theft, and they are forced to tour.

And now, our United States Supreme Court has made a recent ruling that seriously hurts copyright law through the use of overseas secondary markets.

More on this later.

Best,

IMR

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 Posted: Thu Apr 18th, 2013 05:59 am
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Paddy
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Yes. Thought you meant that.

Paddy

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 Posted: Tue Apr 30th, 2013 03:13 pm
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Idelie Perez
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Since I am fairly new to the playwright game, I wanted to know should I copyright all my work? I entered my play into a festival and am getting it produced next month but was wondering if I should have gotten my script copy written. I would appreciate any advice.

Sincerely,

Idelie

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 Posted: Tue Apr 30th, 2013 03:57 pm
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carlblong
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Idelie Perez wrote:
Since I am fairly new to the playwright game, I wanted to know should I copyright all my work? I entered my play into a festival and am getting it produced next month but was wondering if I should have gotten my script copy written. I would appreciate any advice.

Sincerely,

Idelie


In the US, at least (I can't vouch for the other countries, but I assume it's similar), when you write it, it's automatically copyrighted, and you don't need to register it to make it so.

Sending it as an attachment in an e-mail will put a time/date stamp on it if you're concerned about having the idea before someone else. If you're more paranoid than that, mail a hard copy to yourself in a sealed envelope. The USPS will stamp the envelope with the date.

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 Posted: Tue Apr 30th, 2013 05:37 pm
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Idelie Perez
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Thank you so much for replying. I always want to make sure I cover all my bases. This was extremely helpful and informative.
I hope you have a wonderful day! Again, thank you for your response.

Best,

Idelie

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 Posted: Mon Aug 12th, 2013 09:04 pm
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katoagogo
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I'm reading a new book called WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING by Andy Sernovitz. On the first page of the first chapter he states at the top:

Here's the definition of word of mouth marketing:
1. Giving people a reason to talk about your stuff
2. Making it easier for that conversation to take place


Getting the monologue into an audition book and having it used is a great tool toward accomplishing #1. Putting the kibosh on one of the tools that younger people use to spread the word put an end to accomplishing #2.

I think there are better ways to engage and encourage a conversation, and turn these fans into super-fans of your stuff. Have them link to the full-works so that people can purchase your plays, that sort of thing.

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 Posted: Mon Aug 12th, 2013 09:06 pm
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katoagogo
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Actually, part of me wishes you had posted links. I'd have enjoyed seeing what the kids did, and I would get to hear your work.
:)

--kato

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 Posted: Mon Aug 19th, 2013 03:21 pm
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RTurco
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carlblong wrote:
Idelie Perez wrote:
Since I am fairly new to the playwright game, I wanted to know should I copyright all my work? I entered my play into a festival and am getting it produced next month but was wondering if I should have gotten my script copy written. I would appreciate any advice.

Sincerely,

Idelie


In the US, at least (I can't vouch for the other countries, but I assume it's similar), when you write it, it's automatically copyrighted, and you don't need to register it to make it so.

Sending it as an attachment in an e-mail will put a time/date stamp on it if you're concerned about having the idea before someone else. If you're more paranoid than that, mail a hard copy to yourself in a sealed envelope. The USPS will stamp the envelope with the date.


Actually, carlblong, I was always under the impression that plays had to be registered with the US Copywright Office in order to obtain fully-protected status. Or am I wrong?

Last edited on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 09:43 pm by RTurco

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 Posted: Fri Nov 1st, 2013 10:53 pm
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carlblong
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RTurco,
Sorry I haven't been checking the boards lately - working on a show.

From the US Copyright office FAQ:
Copyright Registration.”
Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.
Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States. "

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 Posted: Sat Nov 2nd, 2013 09:39 pm
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QuixotesGhost
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Mana: 
I actually have a related question, but I'm coming from the other side. I want to use lines from an author's work that's still under copyright in a script.

It's tricky since the script itself is a derivative work of a public domain property. It's that "Paradise Lost" adaptation I was talking about in another sub-forum. The script uses a lot of synthesis, there's lines from the original work, lines from other works by Milton, lines from the Bible, original lines, and lines from three other authors: William Blake, Mary Shelly, and Dylan Thomas.

Dylan Thomas is still under copyright and will be until 2023. Specifically, the script uses the final two lines from his 1936 poem "The Hand that Signed the Paper":

A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven
Hands have no tears to flow

The line has also been altered to, "That hand rules pity as that hand rules heaven. Hands have no tears to flow."

I was reading about fair use cases on Wikipedia, and this in particular caught my attention:


Purpose and character

The first factor is regarding whether the use in question helps fulfill the intention of copyright law to stimulate creativity for the enrichment of the general public, or whether it aims to only "supersede the objects" of the original for reasons of personal profit. To justify the use as fair, one must demonstrate how it either advances knowledge or the progress of the arts through the addition of something new. A key consideration is the extent to which the use is interpreted as transformative, as opposed to merely derivative.

When Tom Forsythe appropriated Barbie dolls for his photography project "Food Chain Barbie" (depicting several copies of the doll naked and disheveled and about to be baked in an oven, blended in a food mixer, and the like), Mattel lost its claims of copyright and trademark infringement against him because his work effectively parodies Barbie and the values she represents.[7]

When Jeff Koons tried to justify his appropriation of Art Rogers' photograph "Puppies" in his sculpture "String of Puppies" with the same parody defense, he lost because his work was not presented as a parody of Rogers' photograph in particular, but of society at large, which was deemed insufficiently justificatory.[8]

However, since this case, courts have begun to emphasize the first fair use factor—assessing whether the alleged infringement has transformative use as described by the Hon. Judge Pierre N. Leval.[9] More recently, Koons was involved in a similar case with commercial photographer Andrea Blanch,[10] regarding his use of her photograph for a painting, whereby he appropriated a central portion of an advertisement she had been commissioned to shoot for a magazine. In this case, Koons won; the case sets a favorable precedent for appropriation art where the use is deemed transformative.

The subfactor mentioned in the legislation above, "whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes", has recently been de-emphasized in some Circuits "since many, if not most, secondary uses seek at least some measure of commercial gain from their use".[11] More important is whether the use fulfills any of the "preamble purposes" also mentioned in the legislation above, as these have been interpreted as paradigmatically "transformative". Although Judge Pierre Leval has distinguished the first factor as "the soul of fair use", it alone is not determinative. For example, not every educational usage is fair.

"Transformative use" normally covers parodies and satires. Does the dramatic context of those lines constitute a transformative use? Who is saying them, and why, and for what purpose? Does the dramatic situation make it transformative?

It's more complex since being part of a derivative work, I'm not trying to pass off another's work as my own. If the audience is unfamiliar with the line, there's an assumption that it belongs to Milton unless told otherwise. The program can list other sources, but shouldn't, I think, be specific, since that'd be a bit of a spoiler. 

I was also reading about a case that might be relevant, concerning sampling in the music industry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Upright_Music,_Ltd._v._Warner_Bros._Records_Inc.

I suppose that use constitutes a "sample" and looking into copyright surrounding music sampling might be relevant. However, there seems to be all sorts of ways that Musicians skirt around this - two I read about were hiring musicians to rerecord a section and paying rights directly to the songwriter instead of the performing artist, which is often much cheaper. Another was buying special sample CDs, the purchase of which transfer rights for use. There's a specific legal agreement, it seems, that the companies which release those CDs have.

So any thoughts? Do the inclusion of those Dylan Thomas lines constitute fair use? Or is it infringement?

 





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 Posted: Mon Nov 4th, 2013 10:00 pm
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RTurco
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Mana: 
Ok I see now. While official copyright may be useful, it isn't necessary.

However, registering with the government is the only way to get full legal protection, in the unlikely eventuality that someone may try to steal your work.

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