April 19th, 2011

[fades] sic transit canis

(c) 2011 by [fades]

So right now I'm doing lots and lots of work with copyright, permissions, et cetera. Most of the authors I'm trying to get reprint permissions for are quite dead.

I'm not much of a fan of astrology, because things are generally universally applicable, but the Pisces trait I most resonate to is beginning every long paragraph with "well, I'm of two minds about this." That, and being kind of crazy, but that's most of the signs.

Anyway, my car conversation this morning was public domain vs. corporate protection of copyrighted materials. Mickey Mouse was the main example character--if American copyright law was reasonable, he'd be in the public domain. But I think I would personally side with Disney on this--the most frustrating aspect of copyright law for me right now is "squatters" like the MLK, Jr. estate, who are drawing revenue for work they never actually did, and tend to refuse to work with individuals they can't get money from.

I don't really see the Mouse as doing that, though - they're still actively using and developing the brand of Mickey, Tinkerbell, Snow White, and so on. It's not something that's lying fallow. The characters are still developing, still in use.

The degree to which this entire thing runs parallel to the "corporations as individuals" is very strong.

Unfortunately, the laws governing public domain (as opposed to fair use) don't make an exception or recognition of transformative use, as opposed to simple theft or mimicry or out-and-out reproduction (for instance, no-one that was involved in the production of Laural and Hardy in the most distanct sense--grandchildren, the studio, etc--makes any money off the re-sale of their skits in a "Comedy Golden Greats" boxed set. There's something that's creatively barren there. But a mash-up artist transforms and expands on the work s/he co-opts, at least at the best of times.)

I do tend to side with institutions more than individuals, though.

This free-form ramble brought to you by the letters B and D, and by the number 224.
[fades] pissy

Stop film and discuss.

From "The Seduction of the Innocent," the book that more or less on its own generated the need for a comic code...

"Superwoman (Wonder Woman) is always a horror type. She is physically very powerful, tortures men, has her own female following, is the cruel, 'phallic' woman. While she is a frightening figure for boys, she is an undesirable ideal for girls, being the exact oppposite of what girls are supposed to want to be."

That passage eats its own tail like Oroboros. I'm deeply impressed.