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Kind of Screwed - Andy Baio sued for 8-bit rendition of "Kind of Blue" photo

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Sorry guys, I didn't have internet (or power) for 26 hours earlier this week, and half of today as well, so my ability to stay current has been spotty. And it's late, I'm tired, and I haven't read all posts, so sorry if I miss something that's already been covered, and I am admitting up front I'm too lazy to bother reading it all at this point.

The gist of what DJP is saying I get, and I even agree with most of it. Most, anyway. I'm not so much upset that Maisel defended his "brand" as I am at the amount he demanded (and even the amount he settled for) for Baio's mistake.

Dave, I'm sorry if we clash on this, but the day that anyone, millionaire or not, loses track of the value of $32,000 (much less $150,000), especially to a common non-millionaire person who has to drain their savings and children's college funds or mortgage their home, or sell their car, or whatever--the day that doesn't affect a person's conscience is the day that they can officially be dubbed greedy, especially in a case such as this.

I've been in recent situations where I have been monetarily wronged, and I could sue, but in the end, I know I'd be draining what little monetary water there is in a vast vast dry desert, and the oasis is probably the only thing keeping the person from starving, or from losing their home. I've been wronged, but even still, when it comes right down to it I just can't bring myself to be the person who completely destroys their life, especially for an amount of money that probably doesn't even mean that much to me in the grand scope of my life. I may get mad and gripe about it, but in the end I can handle a slight loss if it means I get to keep my humanity and look in the mirror with a clean conscience and know that I still possess some form of empathy for other people.

So just to make things clear, that's my perspective. Maybe Baio was wrong for trying to claim fair use on this matter. I can see it going either way, honestly. And really, I suppose it's a matter of who has a better argument. But considering the fact that it IS definitely possible based on other fair use trials that it could have gone the other way, who's to say then that Baio's mistake was so unthinkable and ignorant? Yes, he would have been better off to play it safe, but that is completely not my point. My point is that he made a mistake, and was punished disproportionately to his error. That is all.

I really don't want to lose too much energy on this topic, it got me riled up in a hurry, and me being the way I am, I tend to move past things just as fast as they fire me up, so I think I'll be doing that now.

Please let me know if anyone decides to do a kickstarter to help soften the blow to Andy's bank account.

*edit* yes, I am aware that I would make a crappy lawyer. But I'm probably better off for that.

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Nice post, and that's exactly what I don't understand.

There is no real point for a millionaire to sue someone for 150K who doesn't have much money. You're potentially and haphazardly ruining people's lives. I'd like to know exactly how much money Kind of Bloop even made in comparison to this sum.

He used your picture, so what, the HARM he did to you should be more proportional to the actual punishment, which honestly I think is ludicrous. If I were him I'd be honored honestly. 32K is bad enough, but originally demanding 150K is just absurd.

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Nice post, and that's exactly what I don't understand.

There is no real point for a millionaire to sue someone for 150K who doesn't have much money. You're potentially and haphazardly ruining people's lives. I'd like to know exactly how much money Kind of Bloop even made in comparison to this sum.

He used your picture, so what, the HARM he did to you should be more proportional to the actual punishment, which honestly I think is ludicrous. If I were him I'd be honored honestly. 32K is bad enough, but originally demanding 150K is just absurd.

I agree wholeheartedly here. I too would be honored if someone used a picture I took.. or even created for a project like this. And I guess I can count myself among many who were lucky to be raised with a heart. More than anything I shake my head at the lack of respect for your fellow man than anything legal.

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Putting aside this weird concept of 'after-the-fact' licensing, where we infringe first, and then wait for the creator to negotiate what would make it all right...

Baio seems like a smart man, so it's easy for me to blame this current Internet culture being such that it didn't occur to him to ask about an iconic piece of artwork before reproducing it; can't assume 'fair use' is enough protection. And now we're too hung up on monetary values. Maisel asked for an amount - probably pulled out of his ass - that may have been significantly increased or reduced after a full trial. It may have turned out to be zero, and Maisel ordered to pay for Baio's legal defense. Or the opposite. We don't want Baio punished at all, which is understandable: he slipped, big time, and we're kinda certain he didn't do it with impugnity. But the courts, who would be closer to the facts than we will ever be, decide how much harm was done, and the amount it takes to compensate; we don't, as much as we like to act like we're experts on the negative effects of infringement. The litigants' personal incomes have no say over whatever amount is determined. So, settlement. I'm assuming Baio's still alive, still coherent, still makes a living, and now is a big fat crusader for fair use advocates. But no one has brought up the 'deterrence' aspect of this situation: what happened to him was sudden, serious, and affected his livelihood... that's entirely the reason it occurred to him to license the music. If there might be trouble, and you can't pay your way out, don't risk it. I wouldn't be the only one who doesn't think '8-bit style' is transformative enough, especially as the cover on a commercially sold product. If the subject was Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", would Baio be as ignorant about it? His examples of 'fair use' weren't very convincing, mostly because those were under very different situations, and he left out the all-important question of whether the creators of any of those original works were even made aware of these products, much less paid or compensated for them. He makes it sound like anyone could get trapped in a dark alley and attacked with a subpoena, but usually, if you don't do anything, you don't get accused of anything. Baio asked for a cover idea that won't land him in court. Is he kidding? There are a thousand things he could do. Do a faceless 'Miles & trumpet' sprite at 64x64 on a blue background: conveys the same 'message', and doesn't infringe on any photographs.

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I'm with Jimmy on this one -- it's not that he doesn't have the right to sue and defend his IP, but to sue for an amount (presumably anyway, unless Kind of Bloop was some breakout hit?) higher than the total revenue from the album smacks of greediness.

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But considering the fact that it IS definitely possible based on other fair use trials that it could have gone the other way, who's to say then that Baio's mistake was so unthinkable and ignorant? Yes, he would have been better off to play it safe, but that is completely not my point. My point is that he made a mistake, and was punished disproportionately to his error. That is all.

...

Please let me know if anyone decides to do a kickstarter to help soften the blow to Andy's bank account.

I don't think it was unthinkable or ignorant, I think it was oversight - more or less an "oops" moment. I don't think, at the time, he was actually thinking about Fair Use at all. I think he came up with that after the fact, once legal action began, which is a bad time to start considering its criteria. Certainly not unthinkable, probably not ignorant, but just... accidental, I'm guessing? That's how it comes off to me, at least...

As for disproportional punishment & greed, well... I'm going to confess: I come at this from a biased position. Andy says this was a side project, not financially motivated, and borne out of love. In that case, it would have been easier to just give it away, as a free fan tribute. That's always been my thought process in terms of honoring VGM and VGM composers through arrangements, and I'm sure that rubs off on my thought process regarding this issue. We (OCR) actually DO think about Fair Use, we consciously try to operate in its full spirit, and the primary reason I chimed in is because I thought Andy's interpretation of it was a bit mangled.

RE: Kickstarter, Andy helped build Kickstarter, but I think this whole case is generating tons of album sales... they moved to S3 because of the traffic? Something like that. So I guess, buy the album?

Which begs a different question - how many copies have sold? Is all of the money still going to the artists, or was there a cutoff point after which profits went to Andy? How many copies had sold at the time of settlement? Forgive me if these numbers & answers have been posted elsewhere - I didn't see them on the main post at http://waxy.org/2011/06/kind_of_screwed/, and they seem relevant when talking about things being proportional, and yet no one seems to know them...

Nice post, and that's exactly what I don't understand.

There is no real point for a millionaire to sue someone for 150K who doesn't have much money. You're potentially and haphazardly ruining people's lives. I'd like to know exactly how much money Kind of Bloop even made in comparison to this sum.

He used your picture, so what, the HARM he did to you should be more proportional to the actual punishment, which honestly I think is ludicrous. If I were him I'd be honored honestly. 32K is bad enough, but originally demanding 150K is just absurd.

I'm going to repeat my belief that they didn't actually think they'd get $150K, they probably didn't know how many albums had been sold (I still don't, myself), and they knew they'd PROBABLY be settling for less. They also probably had no idea whether Andy was wealthy or not. They demanded $150K - OR - ALL proceeds from the album, plus $20K for "DMCA Violations". Personally, I think that last bit about the DMCA Violation is a little crap. Also, why ALL proceeds as opposed to some relevant PERCENTAGE of proceeds? THAT sounds greedy indeed; clearly the music had SOME motivating factor towards people buying the album (I'd say the vast majority)... but is all of that coming from the photographer, or his lawyers? Don't know.

I'm with Jimmy on this one -- it's not that he doesn't have the right to sue and defend his IP, but to sue for an amount (presumably anyway, unless Kind of Bloop was some breakout hit?) higher than the total revenue from the album smacks of greediness.

I'm a little unclear on how many copies had sold at time of settlement, and how many have sold now. Sounds like we all are. Without that information, I'm just thinking it's standard practice to "go in high," under the assumption that you'll be settling much lower. Not to diminish the impact & seriousness of litigation, but to the lawyers, it's a business, and they treat it as such. I do think SOME amount of compensation was in order. Personally, I'd hope that most reasonable people would think it about right to consider the cover as being more or less equal to a single song, on the album, and thus represent that percentage. The problem is, according to him, he didn't want money in the first place, he wanted the whole thing to have never happened. Can't put a price tag on that. That's not greedy... that's pissed. If you take the statement at face value - that he never would have licensed the photo in the first place - then he'd actually prefer to NOT have the $32K, and to turn back time. Like Cher. If you truly believe that's what he feels, a lot of the comments about greed and proportionality aren't as relevant...

No question he was obviously in the wrong, however a simple cease and desist would suffice.

Can't believe someone would take a fan project, with best intentions, to court.

Well, they didn't end up going to court... I'm just speculating, here, but I don't think they thought that they would, either. A cease and desist would have made complete sense if the album were free, and I hope that's what they would have done... if the album were free.

When you start selling "fan projects" for $$$, I think you DO cross a bit of a threshold away from them being fan projects and towards a more commercial realm. No one's (??) saying Andy's greedy for selling the album as opposed to giving it away, right? But along with entering that realm come a lot of obligations, politics, drama, etc.

Personally? No thanks.

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A small point: Andy wanted to give it away, but couldn't due to mandatory royalties per download: http://waxy.org/2009/05/kind_of_bloop/ . Not that this frees Andy of the obligations that come with charging for something, but I think it's worthwhile to mention this.

(what I think personally is that it might not be greed, but still a dick move from the photographer to attack the way he did. Even if the album was commercial there is still a big asymmetry.)

P.S.: Stevo your animated sig image (The OCR SWINGAS) is causing my browser to freeze for 10 seconds when the image first becomes visible, and from then on take one full core at 100% as long as the image is visible. It might be a little bit on the heavy side.

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A small point: Andy wanted to give it away, but couldn't due to mandatory royalties per download: http://waxy.org/2009/05/kind_of_bloop/ . Not that this frees Andy of the obligations that come with charging for something, but I think it's worthwhile to mention this.

It's absolutely worth mentioning - the site he links to there is http://www.boutell.com/newfaq/creating/licensecovers.html, which says:

"But I want to give away my downloads!" Don't. The 9.1 cent royalty applies whether your downloads are free or not. Remember, the composition doesn't belong to you. If you want the freedom to give away song downloads, write your own songs.
OKAY MR. WEBPAGE! But wait... what about parody? Satire? What about non-commercial, transformative work that also serves an educational purpose? Do ASCAP/BMI/etc. really have the legal ability to completely moot ANY and ALL arguments of Fair Use??

No. They do not. They DO have some very big legal guns, though... but apparently, so do some photographers...

THIS would have been the more meaningful place to make a Fair Use argument, w/ regards to the actual music. Instead, he licensed the music, and did nothing with the cover, then claimed Fair Use when issues arose. For all of Jack's extended pontifications and "alternative" views on copyright law at large, Jack's right about one thing: A lot of smart people seem to get confused about Fair Use.

So, in other words, he definitely could have given it away for free, but he would have been at risk of having to make Fair Use claims about the music, too.

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Excellent point, ties nicely with OC Remix itself (maybe I should have written "said he couldn't" instead of "couldn't"). I guess he wanted to work within the system as far as the music part was concerned. Too bad for everyone involved he didn't do so (by omission? oversight? intentionally? A mix of these?) for the cover.

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This is why it's pointless even discussing copyright with you at all, Jack. You don't fundamentally believe that creators deserve exclusive rights, as you just said.

I think that the universe doesn't care if artist's have exclusive rights. Remember: we're part of a society, an arbitrarily created concept made by humans. Everything we do has to be proven, at some point. And everything has to be re-proven as the situations change. That's how slavery worked: humans proved to themselves that, for a while,. it was perfectly fine to overpower and enslave people, and when societies were in a primitive state, that worked well. After moving to a more collective-based society in which the individual was valued less than the individual's contribution to society, slavery was re-evaluated and deemed logically impermissible (granted, a few centuries later in the US, and not at all in other parts of the world), and thus was proven to not be in society's best interest. We're still working on basic human rights for women and gay people, mind you; it's not an absolute process.

So, yes, "artistic control" has to be proven necessary to society, and I argue that it's not anymore, or rather, it's not in such a broad sense. In the original draft of the Constitution, it wasn't necessary for ART, only for artisans, because actual useful stuff was more important to society. As time went on, copyright was expanded to artists because of a social need (we have all of our manufacturing down, now we can focus on making art, so let's give artists creative control)... but more importantly, it was a viable thing to control. You couldn't reproduce paintings without making prints, so that's easy, there was no way to record music, so that's easy, sheet music has to be printed, but only large publishers have printing presses, so that's easy to track, same with books... it was feasible to give artists creative control because that was something logically within our capabilities of controlling.

Fast forward to now: everyone has a copy machine. Everyone has Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V. Everything is digital, and thus infinitely available. And most importantly, everyone can make, create, edit, and disseminate art themselves. Artist's exclusive rights have become nearly impossible to deal with by nature of the evolution of technology and society. What's more, it's not necessary anymore. Artist's used to need incentive to create art; they don't anymore, not by a long shot. Look at YouTube, where people don't get paid for their uploads (without special agreements); not getting paid doesn't stop people from creating content, because people create it for self-fulfillment and for notoriety. Hell, look at OCR; no one here gets paid, but artists still make music anyway. America is higher up on Maslow's hierarchy than ever before, and people create content now more for self-actualization needs than for anything else (advertisers actually bet on this, and now recruit individuals on Facebook to make user-created ads for free, and people do it just because they love the product / want to create something).

So, yeah, in the modern age, we need to re-prove that artists deserve exclusive rights; that it's worth our while to spend SO MUCH TIME, MONEY, AND EFFORT protecting these "rights", because the way I see it, it's an outdated concept, no more necessary than slavery. Go Internet!

I was going to make this point earlier, but I figured it would be more clear if you stated your own extremist view. Nobody needs to "definitively prove" that artists deserve exclusive rights because we shouldn't have to. People are fundamentally entitled to the fruit of their labor. Saying otherwise is literally either absolute communism or absolute totalitarianism.

You know why people get the fruit of their labor? Two reasons:

1 ) stealing deprives people of things they once had and no longer do; if stealing is allowed, society devolves

2 ) it's practical to protect people from theft; physical objects being stolen can be tracked, and it can be proven that someone has stolen something

This doesn't apply to ideas because ideas are not tangible. Proof: the United States is working on overhauling the patent system to change from a "first to invent" system to a "first to register" system. If ideas were tangible and capable of being tracked in the same way, for instance, a car is, there would be no need to change the patent system; the first to invent would be able to easily prove so, and patent claims would be easy to deal with in courts. As it stands, the current patent system lets people "come out of the woodwork" and make after-the-fact patent claims, and it takes lots of court time / money to deal with it.

Artist's creative control rights are the same thing. It takes so much time, money, and effort to accurately track each creation, each filing, and each infringement claim that it's not worth it anymore, at least not in its current form. In addition, taking a song you've written and editing it is NOT the same as me walking into your garage and stealing your car; if I edit your song, you still have your song, and you've still created your song, and you're still capable of selling your song. Maybe mine is better, but then, maybe you should write a new song?

That isn't to say that there aren't plenty of cases where the individual must sacrifice something for the good of society (namely, income -> taxes) but in these cases, the question isn't "Why should the government let you keep any money at all?" but rather "Why should the government take 25% of your income?"

Again, just because someone can make a derivative of your work does not mean your work is invalid. I listen to the Beatfreak's version of "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell all the time, and think it's a superior version. I assure you Rockwell probably gets his original song sold on iTunes every now and then. So, even by your own measure, only in extreme cases would a derivative work completely and totally supersede an original artistic creation, in which case, who cares? We don't legislate to the extremes; that's why WBC is allowed to exist, remember?

Just because the original scope of copyright was different 300 years ago doesn't make it necessarily better. That's poor logic. But let's assume art (in the sense of paintings, music, etc.) doesn't qualify as "useful shit". By definition then, "useful" things are more useful to society than things that are not-useful. In that case, how does it make any sense at all to put MORE copyright protection on the "useful" stuff? You've made the argument repeatedly that restrictive copyright laws are bad for society (etc) by stifling innovation and derivative works, yet you also seem to think that only "useful" stuff deserves copyright... so essentially, you're saying that the things that could benefit society the most should be most restricted.

Yes, for practical reasons. The original intent of copyright law was very limited in nature, and it went a little something like this:

A scientist invents something (let's say, a centrifuge). That centrifuge could be used for a variety of applications, one of which is medicine. Now, thanks to copyright, only that scientist can make centrifuges, which is good because imagine if a bunch of poorly made knock-off centrifuges were released to hospitals by 3rd parties? People could die! So, for a period long enough for the scientist to work out the kinks, and for a period long enough for the rest of the world to learn how to build centrifuges properly, the scientist is the only one allowed to make them. After the period, free reign! Hospitals know how to spot poor centrifuges, and the rest of the world understands how to improve on the original centrifuge.

That was the original intent of the law in terms of the "sciences and useful arts", if you'd do a little research and read some history.

That is stupid. If anything, if art really doesn't matter or isn't useful to society, then society shouldn't care if a creator has 50, 100, or even 500 years of copyright protection. It's of no value to society, so there is (by definition) no harm in allowing the creator total control.

It has no useful value to society; I never claim it had no value at all, just that the value is abstract, and thus impossible to quantify in pure numbers the way cars or centrifuges can be. Thus, it's not worth it to society to protect the creator's exclusive rights in the way that it's worth it to protect the inventors. You see it as "if it doesn't matter, protect it indefinitely". I see it as "if it doesn't matter, why spend valuable time and resources protecting it at all?"

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I'm pretty sure that "enriching one's own culture and life" counts as "useful", and I'm pretty sure that I'd be pretty pissed off if somebody took work that I had done, added a bit here and there, and sold it for profit without giving me any compensation for my work.

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It's subjectively useful, is the point, not objectively useful like actual things can be. Besides, "I'd be pissed if X, Y, Z happened" is not a reason to legislate, either. Plenty of people "would be pissed if two guys got married"... so, should we legislate to stop gay people from marrying?

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So wait. You're saying that if I go to the store, buy a canvas, some paints and paintbrushes, then use those things to create a picture, it's not mine? After all, neither the canvas nor the dry paint are objectively useful anymore. If someone came around and stole my picture, would they be in the right since I still have the remaining paint, the paintbrushes, and the original idea in my head? Would it be okay for them to sell my painting? What if someone copied a digital image that I created—but had no intention of showing anyone—from my hard drive and started posting it all over the internet?

The fact that people tend to have good words for my artwork and that often they want to commission something should prove that artists deserve rights to their work (at least to some extent). I hear the phrases, "All I can draw is stick figures/flies," and, "I can't even draw a straight line," so much it makes me sick. Artists—no matter what medium—have a skill that many others cannot replicate. Their skill might not save lives, or make living conditions easier for the masses, but it's still legitimate, I say. Sure anyone can make art in MS Paint, but they're still limited by their own skill, talent, and creativity.

That all being said, when I post something on the internet, not only do I not expect any monetary gain, but I also post it under the assumption that other people will take it, copy it, or otherwise use it in some way. That's fine by me. The only thing that might get under my skin is if they credit themselves as the original author. Lying is bad, yo.

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I can't honestly tell if you're dense or just a really crass relativist. You can't say stuff like this:

It's subjectively useful, is the point, not objectively useful like actual things can be. Besides, "I'd be pissed if X, Y, Z happened" is not a reason to legislate, either. Plenty of people "would be pissed if two guys got married"... so, should we legislate to stop gay people from marrying?

And then say that there are no absolute or fundamental rights outside of what humans "arbitrarily" create for ourselves as situations change. Do you find it at all permissible that we had slavery to begin with? Or that some societies think it's OK to commit genocide? Or to enslave women? etc? You make it sound like it would obviously not be OK to legislate against gay marriage just because people are pissed about it, but aren't you saying that rules and rights are arbitrary, and made up as the situation dictates? What if the situation dictates banning gay marriage because the majority of people don't like it, or allowing men to beat their wives?

You can't be a total relativist without being willing to say things like this. Of course, maybe you are, in which case, I think you're basically an asshole!

A scientist invents something (let's say, a centrifuge). That centrifuge could be used for a variety of applications, one of which is medicine. Now, thanks to copyright, only that scientist can make centrifuges, which is good because imagine if a bunch of poorly made knock-off centrifuges were released to hospitals by 3rd parties? People could die! So, for a period long enough for the scientist to work out the kinks, and for a period long enough for the rest of the world to learn how to build centrifuges properly, the scientist is the only one allowed to make them. After the period, free reign! Hospitals know how to spot poor centrifuges, and the rest of the world understands how to improve on the original centrifuge.

That was the original intent of the law in terms of the "sciences and useful arts", if you'd do a little research and read some history.

I don't actually think you understand copyright. The purpose of copyright isn't to protect society from poor imitations, or to observe how to make a 'proper' version of something. It's (a) to financially reward the original creator, and (B) allow people to access, improve and expand upon ideas. There is a balance that must be struck. The job of protecting society from imitations/dangerous products has always been left up to the free market, and now, regulatory agencies. If someone comes up with a brilliant patent, and I make a poor version of it, nobody will buy it - or if it's dangerous, I won't legally be able to sell it. After all, there is no guarantee that the person who originally discovered an idea will be able to execute it properly (and in fact, proper execution is far more likely once the idea can be refined by society) so your interpretation just makes very little sense.

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So wait. You're saying that if I go to the store, buy a canvas, some paints and paintbrushes, then use those things to create a picture, it's not mine? After all, neither the canvas nor the dry paint are objectively useful anymore. If someone came around and stole my picture, would they be in the right since I still have the remaining paint, the paintbrushes, and the original idea in my head? Would it be okay for them to sell my painting? What if someone copied a digital image that I created—but had no intention of showing anyone—from my hard drive and started posting it all over the internet?

No, no, no, that's not what I'm saying. A painted canvas is a physical object. Yes, it's art, but the original canvas you painted on is a thing; if someone breaks into your house and steals it, it's not wrong because they "stole art" it's wrong because they broke a law and stole an object. Now, if they go into your house and take a picture / scan it and distribute it on the internet... well, they're wrong for breaking and entering. :P

The fact that people tend to have good words for my artwork and that often they want to commission something should prove that artists deserve rights to their work (at least to some extent). I hear the phrases, "All I can draw is stick figures/flies," and, "I can't even draw a straight line," so much it makes me sick. Artists—no matter what medium—have a skill that many others cannot replicate. Their skill might not save lives, or make living conditions easier for the masses, but it's still legitimate, I say. Sure anyone can make art in MS Paint, but they're still limited by their own skill, talent, and creativity.

"Deserve"? I can't draw, but I don't think you deserve anything if all you're doing is uploading a file to DeviantArt and charging me to download it. Now, if I commission you to paint me something, I'm not necessarily paying for your art... it's more accurate to say I'm paying for your ability to paint, or in other words, for the service of painting. Nothing's wrong with that, but to say that, once paint hits canvas, the concept of whatever you painted is protected? If someone can reproduce it (or even better, if someone can improve on it, either in concept or in execution), more power to him: he doesn't need your skills.

That all being said, when I post something on the internet, not only do I not expect any monetary gain, but I also post it under the assumption that other people will take it, copy it, or otherwise use it in some way. That's fine by me. The only thing that might get under my skin is if they credit themselves as the original author. Lying is bad, yo.

HERE we go. What you're saying here, that when something is posted online, you expect people to do whatever with it, is essentially the status quo that I'm arguing modern copyright law should be set up as (digital anything? all bets are off), because it simply doesn't make sense in the modern world to do otherwise; modern technology makes it impossible to adequately protect artist's creative control (and as I've illustrated before, it's not even necessary to give that control anymore).

Don't worry, Zircon; I'm going to get to you later. My girlfriend and I are taking a friend out for her 21st tonight, and I'm DD, so I'll be AFK for a while.

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No, no, no, that's not what I'm saying. A painted canvas is a physical object. Yes, it's art, but the original canvas you painted on is a thing; if someone breaks into your house and steals it, it's not wrong because they "stole art" it's wrong because they broke a law and stole an object. Now, if they go into your house and take a picture / scan it and distribute it on the internet... well, they're wrong for breaking and entering. :P

I never said anything about breaking and entering. How about a relative, friend or acquaintance that I willingly let into my home? At some point, while my back is turned, they happen to snap a shot of a piece of artwork with their phone. I guess I should just be a hermit in this case, yes?

"Deserve"? I can't draw, but I don't think you deserve anything if all you're doing is uploading a file to DeviantArt and charging me to download it.

Yeah, it's obvious you don't draw if you think it's as simple as, "...uploading a file to DeviantArt..." There's the money spent on materials/art programs, money spent on books, classes and other aids, the time and effort it takes to actually make the piece, not to mention an entire lifetime worth of practice. (This is probably where Maisel's getting that ridiculous sum from.... He's still a greedy asshole though.) The idea doesn't just pop out automatically into some kind of material form. Still, charging people to download something is stupid if they can already see it. That's what watermarks, small image sizes and bad compression are for. =P

Now, if I commission you to paint me something, I'm not necessarily paying for your art... it's more accurate to say I'm paying for your ability to paint, or in other words, for the service of painting. Nothing's wrong with that, but to say that, once paint hits canvas, the concept of whatever you painted is protected? If someone can reproduce it (or even better, if someone can improve on it, either in concept or in execution), more power to him: he doesn't need your skills.

Concept only, though. Anyone who just copy/pastes the image does need the original artist's skills because they wouldn't have been able to reproduce it otherwise. However, if another artist uses their own time, effort, knowledge and resources to recreate the image (especially if they're only focused on the concept of the original), then he doesn't need my skills.

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I can't honestly tell if you're dense or just a really crass relativist. You can't say stuff like this:
It's subjectively useful, is the point, not objectively useful like actual things can be. Besides, "I'd be pissed if X, Y, Z happened" is not a reason to legislate, either. Plenty of people "would be pissed if two guys got married"... so, should we legislate to stop gay people from marrying?
And then say that there are no absolute or fundamental rights outside of what humans "arbitrarily" create for ourselves as situations change. Do you find it at all permissible that we had slavery to begin with? Or that some societies think it's OK to commit genocide? Or to enslave women? etc? You make it sound like it would obviously not be OK to legislate against gay marriage just because people are pissed about it, but aren't you saying that rules and rights are arbitrary, and made up as the situation dictates? What if the situation dictates banning gay marriage because the majority of people don't like it, or allowing men to beat their wives?

The point is to remind you that those oh so dear opinions you have about artist's rights didn't exist at some point and the universe went on just fine. It's to inject a bit of humility, because as an artist, especially an artist who wants to make money, you're incredibly biased about copyright; sometimes, it's humbling to remember that the universe exists and works without your machinations.

As for your actual questions, it's all about context. Do I think it's ok we had slavery? Sure, within the historical context. Slavery, however, is logically unsound, as we used it and in terms of modern goals: we (early humans) enslaved groups of people based on nothing more than color / geographical location, and then proceeded to invalidate anything those people did outside of ordered labor. That doesn't make sense if your goal as a society is, for instance, a unified theory of physics and you're enslaving Einstein. Humans grew out of slavery (read: it became less useful to us than just giving everyone equal rights), but that doesn't mean that at one time it didn't help us grow as a species.

As for my point about gay marriage, I brought it up to prove logical inconsistency. We already have a law that says, essentially (and I'm paraphrasing), "all United States citizens get the same rights and responsibilities". Legislating against gay marriage is logically inconsistent with that law, because gay people could be US citizens, yet would not be afforded the same rights or responsibilities as other citizens. We'd be, in essence, breaking our own law. So, we have two choices: allow gay marriage, or change the original law (assuming we want to stay logically consistent; we could, in theory, just say that as a society we don't care about being logical, but then we'd essentially have to re-build our society, and that'd take a lot of time and resources. That's not to say we can't or that it's not a valid choice, just that we probably won't). Now, if we found out that the act of gays marrying actually caused direct societal harm, it might be necessary to legislate to stop it... but they don't, so the law wouldn't be warranted, and laws must be warranted before they are made.

Again, we don't legislate because we don't like things, we legislate because we have to, because there is no other choice. The logical reason for that is because laws take time, money, and other resources to create and uphold, and time / money / other resources are limited, thus we only apply them where they are most necessary.

EDIT: Oh, also one more point: you can indeed say that some things are objectively useful and at the same time say that humans arbitrarily give ourselves rights that don't exist in nature, just not with my wording. When I said things could be "objectively useful", it goes without saying that the implication is "objectively useful at the time"; things that are currently objectively useful can become objectively non-useful and non-useful things can become objectively useful as times / situations change. A good example is how the 17th century button makers guild got their asses handed to them by innovation.

You can't be a total relativist without being willing to say things like this. Of course, maybe you are, in which case, I think you're basically an asshole!

Yay, insults! Don't you guys usually nail me for that? I'm pretty sure I never insulted a poster this time around. Let me check. ... ... ... Nope, the closest I came was calling DJP a "commie" and a "socialist", but that was sarcasm, not a legitimate insult (obviously he's not a socialist or a commie). So that's OCR - 0, Jack - 1 on the Insult-o-tron. Well done with the ad hominem, by the way; even if I was an asshole, that wouldn't invalidate my claims. Person =/= argument.

I don't actually think you understand copyright. The purpose of copyright isn't to protect society from poor imitations, or to observe how to make a 'proper' version of something. It's (a) to financially reward the original creator, and (B) allow people to access, improve and expand upon ideas. There is a balance that must be struck. The job of protecting society from imitations/dangerous products has always been left up to the free market, and now, regulatory agencies. If someone comes up with a brilliant patent, and I make a poor version of it, nobody will buy it - or if it's dangerous, I won't legally be able to sell it. After all, there is no guarantee that the person who originally discovered an idea will be able to execute it properly (and in fact, proper execution is far more likely once the idea can be refined by society) so your interpretation just makes very little sense.

...I don't think you understand copyright. Again, from the US Constitution (say it with me):

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

(emphasis added]

I'm not reading anything about ensuring people get paid. Nope, nothing about protecting your ability to get money. I do see a part about protecting the progress of science and the useful arts, though... and what do you know, my example was all about scientific progress! Remember: my argument is that current copyright law is a bastardization of original intent, more importantly a bastardization that is no longer discreet, enforceable, or warranted.

You say that the "job of protecting society from imitations/dangerous products has always been left up to the free market, and now, regulatory agencies", but what you're leaving out of the picture is that the free market has created something that totally screws over the last 100 or so years of copyright law: the Internet, digital data, and Bittorrent. These three things completely wreck the whole "enforceable" part of making laws; we can legislate and legislate and legislate, but it won't be practical to ever enforce copyright as it is now as long as computers or the internet exists. And... if you think it is practical, than you either don't understand how computers / the internet works, or you're purposefully ignoring that information because of bias.

Since we're on a gaming music site, I'll assume you all know how computers work.

I never said anything about breaking and entering. How about a relative, friend or acquaintance that I willingly let into my home? At some point, while my back is turned, they happen to snap a shot of a piece of artwork with their phone. I guess I should just be a hermit in this case, yes?

What you're talking about isn't copyright, it's privacy, and there are no laws about privacy (only vague common law precedents cobbled together from the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th amendments. If a friend comes into my apartment and takes a picture of my entertainment center, which I believe is artistically organized, and uploads it to his Facebook, I can be pissed, but it's not illegal. Same concept. This is why "intellectual property" is a nonsense term: because you can't control information without it simply not existing. Once information (and the look of a painting is only "information") is created, all it takes is a single person seeing / hearing / reading it and it can no longer be controlled. It's just not practical or enforceable.

Yeah, it's obvious you don't draw if you think it's as simple as, "...uploading a file to DeviantArt..." There's the money spent on materials/art programs, money spent on books, classes and other aids, the time and effort it takes to actually make the piece, not to mention an entire lifetime worth of practice. (This is probably where Maisel's getting that ridiculous sum from.... He's still a greedy asshole though.) The idea doesn't just pop out automatically into some kind of material form. Still, charging people to download something is stupid if they can already see it. That's what watermarks, small image sizes and bad compression are for. =P

Well, the act of drawing is complex, sure, but the act of selling a drawing is not. Again, if I want you to make me something, I'm not paying for information, I'm paying for the service of creating information. If you (or someone else) have already created the information, and the reproduction of that information is trivial, then why spend time and money restricting a trivial act?

Concept only, though. Anyone who just copy/pastes the image does need the original artist's skills because they wouldn't have been able to reproduce it otherwise. However, if another artist uses their own time, effort, knowledge and resources to recreate the image (especially if they're only focused on the concept of the original), then he doesn't need my skills.

That's all theorycraft. Given enough time, elementary probability suggests that monkeys can type out Shakespeare. See, this is artist's bias and hubris shining through: "well, no one can create what I can create, so I'm special". Similar or comparable concepts have been created in geographically disparate regions at similar times before, so there's no reason why, given enough time, what you paint won't be painted by someone else. Your thoughts are not special; your execution may be, but again, that execution is only applicable during the actual act of creation; after that, all bets are off.

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"Do I think it's ok we had slavery? Sure,"

Er...yeah.... i'll just keep this as a quote for later so you can use it to string yourself up with jack.

Besides which all of that crap you spouted is ergo an opinion

And worse still it was your opinion.

Which to be honest does not mean jack shit to people that give a damn.

I'm just having fun pissing jack off have fun tearing his arguement apart guys.

See ya in the funny papers.

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" it's all about context. Do I think it's ok we had slavery? Sure, within the historical context. Slavery, however, is logically unsound, as we used it and in terms of modern goals: we (early humans) enslaved groups of people based on nothing more than color / geographical location, and then proceeded to invalidate anything those people did outside of ordered labor."

There you go,

Still sounds f£$king stupid if you ask me the reason of slavery was 1 rascism and 2 laziness which gave them a reason to be racist so they would not have to work and instead have "them people" do all the work.

Racism has been ripe throughout human history i shall agree that its logically a bad idea but slavery was not ok, regardless of the fact of "oooh we were a young species back then" we'd been around for around atleast 300 years before slavery was properly recorded, you would of thought after 300 years we would of thought "slavery? why?" but no we blundered on and on either way no i dont feel slavery was a good thing for the human race to use. and it shall never be a good thing.

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Lol, you guys rage so much. It's too good. "Look at me, I'm going to selectively quote someone, then make vague threats because I didn't consider the context of what I quoted."

You know how when animals with similar genes interbreed and it causes genetic deformities that eventually cripple the species? The OCR forums should be a case study for how the same concept can be applied to ideas. I'm sure psychologists could have a field day watching people fellate their own ideas. I sure am.

To take a page from the OCR playbook:

popcorn.gif

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Who said I'm raging?

Just stating my view seeing as you were wanting a response

and pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease point out the threat,

i would love to see where the threat came from.

oh the string self up statement? its a figure of speech i suggest you look into that

it basically means that what you say may later trip you up during a conversation.

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Er...yeah.... i'll just keep this as a quote for later so you can use it to string yourself up with jack.

(emphasis added)

Not so much an "I'm going to do something to you" threat as much as a "you hold this opinion so bad things are going to happen to you" threat. Just as lulzy, though. :P "Because you disagree with me, you're going to pay in the future raa raa raa!" It's great entertainment while waiting for Zircon.

EDIT: Ah, I see you edited your above post... doesn't matter. I'm not going to "regret" posting anything, because I meant exactly what I said. Given the context of the cultural climate of early humans, I can see how slavery helped us along our path to modern society, just how I can see how capitalism helped us along the path to developing the theoretically superior Socialist system, or how religion was necessary to push along the path of psychological evolution that would eventually lead to modern scientific thought and Nietzsche's famous (and true) statement of "God is dead!". There's no use in QQ'ing over the past, and we now understand how inefficient slavery is (not to mention how nonsensical it is with modern axiomatic social concepts like "human rights"), so all's good as long as we don't use it now.

But, see, I understand the concept of social context, so it's not a big deal for me to say that.

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Actually no i was gonna keep it so other people will spot that part read that part of your sentence and realise how stupid it sounds.

As i said its a figure of speech.

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