Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tales from the Public Domain: Bound By Law?

Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University School of Law, which focuses on the delicate balance between intellectual property and the public domain - the realm of material that is free to use without permission or payment - has published a comic book that provides a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture. You can check out the comic book here.

2 comments:

Floris said...

This new comic book is an excellent way of presenting the issues relating to intellectual property law. The legal narrative style will allow a wider audience to read and discuss these complex issues. The comic book is aimed at making people question and rethink copyright law and its underlying principles. It asks whether permission is required too often and whether creative re-use is being prevented.

It focuses on the argument that intellectual property law inhibits artists by restricting their access to materials (protected by copyright law) which could be applied in the creation of new work.

It seems absurd that an important civil rights documentary can be pulled from circulation since the filmmakers rights to music and footage expired. Filmmakers and journalists often rely on the ‘fair use’ exceptions to copyright laws. However, fair use does not cover every situation and the expense of litigation often hinders distribution of the new work.

The expense and difficulty of obtaining clearance will stop many documentaries from being created and released. “Our irreplaceable cultural commons is being sectioned up and sold off to the highest bidders and most aggressive litigators” (Kembrew McLeod: Freedom of Expression ®: Overzealous Copyright Bozoz and Other Enemies of Creativity).

Judging from the comic book’s cover and reviews, it only seems to present one side of the story. It is important to mention that copyright laws are designed to protect artists’ legitimate interests. It protects the integrity of their work and ensures that it is not appropriated for uses without remuneration or acknowledgment.

shane said...

this is a very fairly balanced summary of the arguments and should stimulate debate about reform