Tag Archives: copyright

Wednesday, 7th Mar 2012


Over on the estimable Comics Reporter, Bart Beaty reports on Katz, a sort-of-parody of Art Spiegelman’s Maus where all the characters, Nazis, Jews and Poles, are drawn as cats, which has been published in France (where they take comics very seriously). It’s a curiosity, particularly as it’s not just a few pages but the whole book and it appears to have been done with professionalism and style.

Naturally, given the revered status of Maus, the lawyers are out in force and it’s being pulped, but I’m sure it’ll live on electronically. Bart reckons it has value.

The decision to appropriate the entirety of Spiegelman’s work — every page, every line of dialogue — seems central to its implicit argument that Maus, as a key text that has shaped comics culture unlike almost any other, is already an object belonging to the community as a whole. It is, this book seems to be saying, a revered work, open to challenges and contestations by others.


I would argue that it is the very thoroughness of the appropriation that makes it so compelling. Katz challenges us to see one of the most important comics ever produced with new eyes. How is that a bad thing?

He also gives us what has to be the quote of the year, at least in comics circles. “I think that Spiegelman fruitfully problematizes the potentially essentializing aspect of his representations in the pages of Maus itself.”


via Kenny Penman

See also Tintin: Breaking Free, a similar-ish piece of wholesale copyright infringement to make a point.

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Saturday, 18th Feb 2012

Penelope Umbrico’s 36 Copyrighted Suns

I love this for many reasons, mostly because I wish I’d thought of it. Fantastic stuff.

via Waxy

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Saturday, 11th Feb 2012

Raiding the Lost Ark

Raiding the Lost Ark is something of curiosity. These edits of all the “bonus features” that litter a DVD release of a film put into sequential order by a fan to create something new-ish are a relatively recent trend. Star Wars Begins, Building Empire and Returning to Jedi were the first by Jamie Benning and he just released the Raiders one this month.

I say curiosity because they exist in an area of copyright infringement which seems pretty clear. The entire piece is made of footage where the ownership is pretty clear and which has a fairly undisputed value. This is such an entirely illegal piece of work that it’s somewhat incredible that Vimeo are hosting it (the Star Wars ones were removed from YouTube a while back).

But despite this the fans go on and make them, presumably because they know the hodge-podge of rights ownerships and legal nonsense dictates it can’t be made above board. The only option is to do it, don’t make a profit and seek forgiveness should it draw attention. Waxy talked about this in his post No Copyright Intended.

Meanwhile, despite not being a fanatic about the Indy films I did enjoy this. It was nice to see clips from making-of docs I remember being broadcast at the time and the editing is slick and enjoyable. Worth a couple of hours of your time for sure.

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Sunday, 22nd Jan 2012

Long reads for a Sunday morning

Some of the articles of significant length I’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks.

Apropos Appropriation – The culture of sampling and copyright infringement for creative gain is hitting the art world. (NY Times)

Clear Lines – One of the nice side-effects of the big Tintin movie is Americans need to be educated as to what the hell is so important about Herge and his creation. This article is a nice concise attempt. (LA Review of Books)

All The Single Ladies – Massive, and I gather quite controversial, essay on being a single woman in your 40s in American. A lovely roller-coaster of personal memoir, sociological study and historical context. (The Atlantic)

Newspapers, Paywalls and Core Users – Clay Shirky’s overview of the online news market starts like this: “This may be the year where newspapers finally drop the idea of treating all news as a product, and all readers as customers.” To which everyone outside the news business replies “you mean they do that?” (Clay Shirkey)

Navigating Love and Autism – A lovely article about two Aspie college kids trying to build a relationship when emotions don’t make sense. “Parents always ask, ‘Who would like to marry my kid? They’re so weird,’ ” she said. “But, like, another weird person, that’s who.” (NY Times)

Can we reach the stars without breaking the bank? – A detailed look at the different options, practical and theoretical, for interstellar space travel. (BoingBoing)

How to get a nuclear bomb – In short, it’s kinda impossible. But the many different ways in which it’s really really hard to blow up New York makes for a highly entertaining read. (The Atlantic)

The first sexual revolution: lust and liberty in the 18th century – An excerpt from a new book by Faramerz Dabhoiwala. (Guardian)

The Torturers Apprentice – Cullen Murphy compared the Medieval Inquisition and the CIA’s interrogation guidelines and finds the Catholics coming out best. The final section is the most interesting, casting torture chambers as “intensely moral places” where “those who wish to justify torture don’t do so by avoiding moral thinking; rather, they override the obvious immorality of a specific act by the presumptive morality of the larger endeavor.” (The Atlantic)

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Wednesday, 14th Dec 2011

Wednesday Links

I’m not a fan of link aggregation posts. If something’s worth posting it’s worth posting in isolation, I feel. But I do come across a load of stuff that doesn’t have a handy video or image which I don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to expand on and it can’t hurt to share it once in a while. If my behaviour is anything to go by you’ll pick a couple of these and ignore the rest. That’s fine.

A statement from Louis CK who released his self-financed standup film as a $5 unrestricted download and has, in 3 days, taken $500,000, a profit of $200,000. Hopefully this will pave the way for a Bandcamp for movies. Fingers crossed.

No Copyright Intended. Andy Waxy looks at the weird phenomena of YouTube users guarding against copyright infringement takedowns by stating that they didn’t mean it, honest. A fascinating read.

An uncut interview with Alan Moore which was edited down for the Indie. Interviews with Moore always work best when they’re verbatim transcripts.

Fist Of Fun DVD. Lee and Herring bought the rights back from the BBC and have put out a wonderful looking package. It might be on dead media but whoa, there’s some good stuff in there.

Eddie Campbell’s Dapper John, previously known as the Ace Rock n Roll Club and effectively a warm-up to his Alec strips, is reissued as an iPad app. Not sure why it needs to be an app – surely a PDF would do the job – but nice to see this rare material out again.

Stewart Lee’s docco about Morris Dancing is sitting there waiting for me to find an hour to listen to it. I am certain it will be brilliant.

New Construction is Kevin Huizenga’s “reflective practitioner” blog about the howtos of cartooning. Loads of lovely work in progress sketches and tips for the aspiring pen-scraper.

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Wednesday, 7th Sep 2011

Update on Andrew Colb’s Space Oddity

Remember the children’s book adaptation of Bowie’s Space Oddity that was done for a laugh and released in the wild as a PDF? The New Yorker has an update and muses on the phenomena of PDF illustrated books spreading online.

The problem in Kolb’s case was that there was at yet no book to sell. And there wouldn’t be one. As soon as Kolb’s creation became famous, it became contraband; Kolb received a letter from the song’s copyright owner telling him his use was a violation and to cut it out. Kolb’s site now features images with blurred out text, and includes [a] disclaimer.

The PDF link is gone and the whole thing is renamed “Picture Book Set In Space“. But, of course, the genie is out of the bottle. The PDF isn’t hard to find (hell, you can download it here if you like) and it’s fodder for the remix culture. Here’s what the New Yorker calls “a kind of triple-copyright infringement scenario” on Vimeo (though who know for how long).

The sad thing about all this is that it has to be illegal art to begin with. Bowie Inc had a choice, to work with a cool thing that had emerged or to stomp down hard, and then chose the dark side. Sigh.

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Sunday, 4th Sep 2011

Folk Songs of Canada Now

A collection of 23 “field recordings” of Canadian folk songs by contemporary performers as a free download. There’s also an essay on the hows and whys and wherefores which is worth a read.

I have listed the names of the performers I have documented. I have even attributed authorship of these songs to their respective singers. This will seem like an error to those who are familiar with the work of the late Staunton R. Livingston, who has made it obvious that music is an immanent plane of anonymous communion. It is a sin, Livingston has taught us, to write about or to write upon music, and it is a sin to tie Music to an individual source.

Livingstone is quite intriguing. From this short biog:

Livingston’s commitment to the idea of “the folk,” alongside his Marxist understanding of human creativity, led him to cast aside conventional notions of cultural propriety and authorship.

A “Marxist understanding of human creativity” might be worth investigating, I think.

Here’s a video of Henry Adam Svec, who compiled this collection, talking about Livingstone’s method and its influence on him.

via Kate Beaton who provided the cover art above.

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Sunday, 28th Aug 2011

Space Oddity – the children’s book

Darting around the retweetosphere today is Andrew Colb’s adaptation of Space Oddity, the David Bowie song, as an illustrated children’s book. There are three spreads there but you might not have noticed the link to a PDF of the full 30 page book. Golly.

Now, what are the odds on:

  • a) a takedown order for copyright infringement,
  • b) a publishing deal from Random House or similar.

[Update: It’s the former.]

Check out the rest of his site too. There’s some lovely stuff in there.

via quite a few people.

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Tuesday, 23rd Aug 2011

Toot of the day

(In a futile effort to de-brandify my conversational microblogging status-update experience I’m referring to messages like these as “toots” from now on.)

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Wednesday, 17th Aug 2011

Daily Mail knowingly used photos after permission denied

Been all over the Twitters but worth another mention. File under “oh, ffs journalists!”

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