Copyright Craziness: Past, Present, and Future

UntitledGreetings! About the time that this blog post goes live I’ll be giving a talk at WordCamp Seattle titled Copyright Craziness1. I’ll be sharing the video of my talk at a later date, but I wanted to publish a few links and resources that I’m talking about.

Wikipedia provides a good overview of the history of US Copyright law. During my talk I plan to mention Steamboat Willie and its interesting copyright status as well.

Information about copyright registration and other details can be found at Copyright.gov.

The notion of fair use is a relatively vague legal defense that can be used against an infringement claim. Columbia University offers a good fair use checklist that can help determine whether a use qualifies as “fair.”

Andy Baio provides a look at the no copyright intended meme that’s pervasive on YouTube. As he notes:

What happens when — and this is inevitable — a generation completely comfortable with remix culture becomes a majority of the electorate, instead of the fringe youth? What happens when they start getting elected to office?

Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh notes in a reason.tv interview:

This disconnect between the public’s view of copyright and fair use and what should and should not be prosecuted, versus the ‘copyright maximist’ view of the law, is our generation’s Prohibition.

Most folks don’t object to attribution. Although some folks screw it up, attribution shouldn’t be hard2.


  1. My understanding is that my talk is being recorded; I’ll share the video once it’s online. 

  2. Photo by Flickr user gabrieldeurioste, used under Creative Commons license. 

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