Nota Bene #113: Seth's Near-Death

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #111: Mmmmm… Beeeeeer

Sorry for the long absence. Let’s carry on, shall we? “If you listen to the guys up in the stands, pretty soon you’ll be up there sitting with them.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #110: WEHT SWK?

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #91: No Joke

Well I figured I’d give you all a break Continue reading

Hobbits, wizards, and storm troopers: the future of fan art

gollumposter2by Josh Catone

This past weekend saw the online release of the first non-spoof, fan-created film set in the Lord of the Rings universe. That by itself is fairly unremarkable, but a number of things set The Hunt for Gollum apart from your standard fan created fare. It’s long (about 40 minutes), it has better than average acting and writing (think direct-to-DVD caliber), it features incredibly high production values despite a meager £3,000 budget, and it is based on canon. That last bit especially, had some wondering if Gollum would run afoul of rights holders at Tolkien Enterprises.

Where most fan art uses original characters and story lines, The Hunt for Gollum‘s writer and director Chris Bouchard based the script on appendices to Tolkien’s original work. That the film uses Tolkien’s actual story could have spelled trouble for the entire production. There are two understood rules in the world of fan art: don’t use official material (like logos, music, and to a lesser extent known characters), and don’t try to make money off your creations. Continue reading

TunesDay: I fought the law and … well, you know the rest

For today’s TunesDay, why don’t we forget about the music and talk about music lawyering? Because really, chicks dig the suits.

Let’s start with my favorite assortment of anti-music fucknozzles, the RIAA. Up first, one of the industry group’s top hired guns wants to “intervene” in a probable cause hearing. Seems some kids at NC State aren’t terribly happy about the RIAA’s business model random trolling for file-sharing violations. You know how it works – ‘let’s sue everybody on the off chance that they might be guilty and/or unable to afford a lawyer.”

Of course, those Woofpack students can at least stand up for themselves. Continue reading

Hey GOP! It's called "stealing."

by JS O’Brien

Jackson Browne is suing the McCain campaign and the Ohio Republican Party for copyright infringement.  It seems there was an ad in Ohio mocking Barack Obama’s advice to inflate tires to save gasoline, and the Republicans decided to use Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty as a theme song.  They didn’t license the rights from Browne, which presents a small problem.

That’s illegal. Continue reading

Personal use is copyright infringement?

In the latest example of how the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has utterly failed to understand and adapt to the changing music landscape, RIAA has brought suit against a man for copying his legally purchased CDs to his personal computer for personal use.

In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings.

Continue reading