A couple of days ago I mentioned the Jeff Koons lawsuits in a post on the problem of copyright in appropriation art. Usually people are angry with Jeff Koons for using and abusing their work in his creative process. Interestingly now it’s Koons who is attempting to use copyright to stop other people using his art.
Art and Artifice write
just before Christmas Koons decided to take the initiative… His lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to Park Life a San Francisco shop for selling balloon dog book ends.
Besides the confusing fact that Koons is now the infringed the case is stranger by the fact that the shop is not the manufacturer or sole reseller of the product. Artinfo writes
The bookends, in fact, are manufactured by Toronto-based imm Living. They retail for $30, and are supposedly available in some 700 stores in the United States, according to an article on the dust-up in the Bay Citizen. The Park Life representative said that the original cease-and-desist letter demanded that the store hand over all remaining balloon dog merchandise to representatives of the artist.
Finally lets not forget what we are talking about: copies of balloon dogs…
Techdirt reports that a newspaper publisher is suing 22 websites for copyright violation. Nothing really new here except the action that these bad sites have carried out is quoting text (with links back to the original articles). Apparently they even used the “you wouldn’t steal a car, so why are you stealing my content” analogy:
Say I owned a beautiful 1967 Corvette and kept it parked in my front yard.
And you, being a Corvette enthusiast, saw my Vette from the street. You stopped and stood on the sidewalk admiring it. You liked it so much you called friends and gave them my address in case they also wanted to drive over for a gander.
There’d be nothing wrong with that. I like my ’67 Vette and I keep in the front yard because I like people to see it.
But then, you entered my front yard, climbed into the front seat and drove it away.
I’m absolutely, 100% not OK with that. In fact, I’m calling the police and reporting that you stole my car….
Yet, when it comes to copyrighted material — news that my company spends money to gather and constitutes the essence of what we are as a business — some people think they can not only look at it, but also steal it. And they do. They essentially step into the front yard and drive that content away.
Do they even believe what they are saying?
The Pirate Bay trial is into it’s fourth day and is being reported by bloggers, tweeters, reporters and commentators. It is almost impossible to miss this media event. This is also part of the problem since the trial itself has become larger than life and more interesting than the actual law. In reality the participants are less than exciting and the law plods along in its usual manner.
Things worth noting so far:
The prosecutor strangely decided to alter the charges (dropping copying and focusing on making available) – this is not uncommon but it was strange that it should occur on day two after a year of preparations. At the same time this doesn’t alter much even though it may importantly effect the damages that can be awarded.
The decription of the bittorent technology involved was badly explained. This is even more surprising as the prosecutors description of the facts should have been acceptable to all. Instead everyone is left with the impression that the prosecutor and his surrounding team is not tech savvy at all.
One of the defence lawyers used the “King Kong defence” when he stated that the prosecutor must show that the defendant has personally interacted with the copyright infringer. Even many users use aliases like King Kong and may well be in the jungles of Cambodia the prosecutor must show such personal interaction. This is a development of the Chewbacca defense.