This is an interesting story considering the copyright issues that are being brought into the spotlight by bottom-up creators and convergence in general. I’m an avid supporter of creative commons licensed media, and so I don’t really see the threat of this affecting me directly as a content producer, but I can certainly see those who want to abuse or abuse copyrighted material being potentially upset by this. In the middle, though, there are the people who want to simply make a copy of a DVD they bought as a backup, which many of these legal representatives might have a big problem with, and that does concern me. Moreover, freeing media is definitely something I’m for as a consumer.
DSLReports notes that Obama’s own ethics rules would prohibit these appointees from directly working on copyright issues, as they previously represented the entertainment industry in these cases, but it is somewhat disconcerting that the Obama administration would pick so many industry insiders for these positions. We would have hoped that the administration had chosen a set of appointees with a more progressive attitude towards copyright.
via Obama’s Latest Pick for DOJ is RIAA Lawyer Who Killed Grokster and Sued Jammie Thomas – ReadWriteWeb.
One of the things about convergence and the ability for unedited, unfiltered (by traditional means) creativity, is that the long standing power bases, editors and filters will feel threatened, and indeed may be threatened by the new found power of the new bottom up creators. Case in point is the Associated Press’ attack on Shepard Fairey’s iconic image based on an AP image of Barack Obama, and the idea that due to transformation, the new image may be considered original, and the originator of the AP image may just have to realize that good starts are just that, and that collective intelligence applies to images too.
The Associated Press is on the wrong of a fair use argument again. It is actually going after artist Shepard Fairey for his iconic Obama poster, which it recently discovered was based on an AP news photograph by Mannie Garcia. The poster is clearly based on that photograph (see comparison at left), but this is exactly the kind of use of copyrighted works that is meant to be protected.
The poster is art. The image it is based on has been sufficiently transformed that even the AP did not know it owned the copyright to the underlying work until a few weeks ago. And Fairey says he hasn’t made any money from the poster, although others have. You can buy the image on posters, stickers, coffee mugs and T-Shirts, and copies of the poster signed by Fairey sell for thousands of dollars. Still, the AP is wants money from Fairey.
via Once Again, The AP Tries To Redefine Fair Use; Goes After Shepard Fairey For Obama Poster.
One of the great things about this administration, so far, is the transparency, willingness to admit when something’s wrong, and the effort to communicate, then move to correct. It shows an element of leadership that is often overlooked, and seldom practiced: humility. It is also a macro example of how we can act in our own lives.
“Anytime one of your nominees pulls out, that’s an issue and, you know, as I’ve said publicly, you know, ultimately, I take responsibility for the situation that we’re in,” Obama said in an interview today in the Oval Office with ABC News’ Charles Gibson, referring to Tom Daschle. “I think that all of these were honest mistakes, but ultimately, there’s no excuse for them.”
via ABC News: Obama Admits Embarrassing Day for Administration.