Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Steal This Blog

In 1970, famous Yippie, anarchist, anti-capitalist and overall rebel Abbie Hoffman published a manifesto on sticking it to the man, entitled Steal This Book. As described on Amazon: "A driving force behind the social revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, Hoffman inspired a generation to challenge the status quo. Meant as a practical guide for the aspiring hippie, Steal This Book...became a cult classic with over 200,000 copies sold. Outrageously illustrated by R. Crumb, it nevertheless conveys a serious message to all would-be revolutionaries: You don't have to take it anymore."

The internet and new generations of artists who are challenging large corporate control of copyright... are in fact changing the attitude of the public and the courts about the protections of free expression built into copyright law.

As this recent story in the Kansas City Star points out, the changing legal landscape is making it easier for producers who are genuinely creating new and transformative works, to sample and use the copyrighted works of others within the framework of Fair Use.

Or, in the words of Hoffman, "You don't have to take it anymore."

This post is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend and clearance colleague, Sue Brownstein, who had a deep sense of social justice... and would appreciate this.

1 comment:

  1. This Fair Use doctrine is widely abused.

    There's a leetle solace here in that "borrowers" apparently must be "genuinely creating new and transformative works."

    Although that wording is vague as moon-mist, it's SOME protection for artists and writers. One can't claim that posting a copied song on ten pirate sites is new or transformative.

    One way or another, *everyone* who works in the arts earns their living from the decency of honest people who actually pay for the entertainment and art they consume.