Tom Spurgeon has an interview with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein about his group’s recent string of successes. The most recent CBLDF news is the successful outcome in the long-running Gordon Lee case.
Charles Gaines is conflicted.
Can a socially responsible citizen love the characters of Marvel but hate the company of Marvel?
More importantly — should he see the new Ironman movie or not?
This documentary is a pretty interesting look at how digital technology and participatory culture collides with Hollywood/RIAA, etc. It’s called Good Copy, Bad Copy and while I can’t really think of a link to comics, if you’re interested in copyright and Web 2.0ish creativity I think you’ll find this pretty insightful.
UPDATE: While I’m in a copyright sort of mood I’d also recommend this clip created by Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University – it’s called A Fair(y) Use Tale and it explains copyright and the fair use exception and is constructred entirely out of clips from Disney movies.
Diesel Sweeties creator Rich Stevens posted a letter he received from LucasFilm Ltd requesting that he cease and desist (magic lawyer words) from selling several t-shirts that play off of Star Wars references (or at least might play off of Star Wars references). (Fleen posted a short comment on it.) Assuming arguendo (another favorite lawyer word) that Stevens is riffing off of Star Wars references in these t-shirts, so what? The questions are going to be about trademark, copyright and defenses such as fair use (including parody).
Unfortunately the reality is also that unless Stevens gets some pro bono (laywerly way of saying "free") assistance it's unlikely he's going to want to even get near the tar pit that would be litigation with a big corporation. I'm not sure what groups would be interested: CBLDF? EFF? Others? A good place to start might be The Chilling Effects website which is a useful guide to understanding your rights and the law related to these types of cease and desist letters.
Thomas Dolby described a recent Wapsi Square comic as "appropriat[ed] material" as it quotes from his She Blinded Me With Science song. It's hard to judge from Dolby's comments how seriously he meant his comment and there doesn't appear to be any follow up on his blog.
But it may be an area where independent comic creators need to learn a bit about copyright law to avoid problems. Wapsi Square creator Paul Taylor has had his characters quote song lyrics before (here and here) and I'm actually not sure offhand what the standard for this situation is so I'm not assuming Wapsi Square has done anything wrong.
But I do recall that on at least one time in the past it's been a problem. Pete Abrams decided to remove some song lyrics from a Sluggy Freelance storyline called "Fire and Rain" due to concerns over possible copyright issues.
This LA Times article is a good snapshot of the issues associated with comic books getting scanned and shared online. I assume it is tough for traditional comic book publishers – from DC and Marvel down to the smaller indy shops – to sort out how to deal with this. On the one hand if online comic book file sharing is following the same trajectory as music (and now video) file sharing, it's conceivable that the audience will grow tremendously – far outstripping the current market for comic books.
The downside, of course is that all of those readers online aren't paying the $3 + for the paper comic book. Although publishers may fight this or ignore this, some smart publisher is going to figure out a way to leverage this at some point and convert a significant enough number of file sharing fans into paying fans to create a new business model for comic books. It may not wind up being all that different from evolving efforts by webcomic creators but I don't doubt that it's coming. Continue Reading
UPDATE 2: It's gone.
Update: An earlier version of this post linked to an "about me" page for a Scott Dial. The webcomic discussed in the post is claimed by Steve Dial, not Scott Dial.
Dr.Sebetos also noted that Jeff Rowland commented in the Fleen post on this.
Fleen points out one of the more blatant and strange examples of plagerism I've ever seen in webcomics. This "webcomic" appears to be word for word copies of Overcompensating strips. It's redrawn, but it looks like the "artist" is drawing it as much like the original OC strips as his "talent" allows.
I'm totally flabbergasted by this.
This guy describes himself as a senior in college applying for PhD programs in Computer Science. Either this is an elaborate hoax perpetuted by Jeff Rowland and/or the Dumbrella crew or this other guy is actually in a lot of potential trouble. Even a first year law student barely getting C's could win the copyright infringement case Jeff Rowland could bring against this guy.
On a challenge, Jon Morris creates a paper doll of the Star-Spangled Kid.
Metro Toronto reviews the latest books by Raina Telgemeier and Hope Larson.
With the current storyline of Goats, I knew it was only a matter of time before Jon worked a Tron joke into it.
Paul Gadzikowski writes in defense of derivative fiction triggered by reactions to a recent appearance of an unauthorized Star Wars novel appearing at Amazon.com.
Notwebcomics Dept: Scans of Alcoholics Anonymous comics and of "comics with problems" (one is titled "Dennis the Menace Takes a Poke At Poison".)