A kinder, gentler assertion of rights

A recent article about my neighborhood in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle had a very forward-thinking copyright notice at the end.

© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2007 All materials posted on BrooklynEagle.com are protected by United States copyright law. Just a reminder, though -- It's not considered polite to paste the entire story on your blog. Most blogs post a summary or the first paragraph, (40 words) then post a link to the rest of the story. That helps increase click-throughs for everyone, and minimizes copyright issues. So please keep posting, but not the entire article.

It strikes me as a really genteel way of merging social convention with copyright law in a way that acknowledges fair use and the rights of the original author. If your magazine goes behind a pay-wall, though, I'm still posting the whole thing.

And I apologize to the good folks at the BDE for posting the whole copyright notice.


Posted by Charles Star on October 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

NCAA Says "Don't Promote Our Product"

Apparently not content with the miniscule coverage given to college baseball, the NCAA has decided that it prefers "virtually zero." A reporter for the largest newspaper in Kentucky was thrown out of a University of Louisville game in the College World Series because "it is against NCAA policies" to liveblog the game. It remains to be seen how much liveblogging this actually stops because NCAA policy only prevents him from liveblogging from the event - and the event was broadcast nationally, live. Also, someone in the crowd might own a PDA.

A lot of people are accusing the NCAA of copyright enforcement thuggery but I think that the NCAA is actually just being the ultimate internet purist: bloggers don't belong in the press box; they should be at home in their pajamas.

(Via CSTB)

Posted by Charles Star on June 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Murderers, Bank Robbers and... Xbox Modders?

Jason Jones, 35, used to run the Acme Game Store out here in Los Angeles. It was next door to Gallery 1988, which hosts the annual 8-Bit Show that Stay Free's Jason Torchinsky mentioned last year. When Acme closed, I assumed it was because Jason simply wasn't pushing enough games to afford his lavish space. But no. As this post on LAist.com explains, Jason was arrested by federal agents for allegedly selling "modded" Xbox consoles. He is now serving time in a halfway house with decidedly more violent offenders. That's your Digital Millennium Copyright Act at work, folks!

Posted by ja3 on February 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Ain't Sayin' He's A Gold Digger


I want to avoid the obvious headline but Evel Knievel ain't suing no broke niggas, so what am I suppossed to do?

Evel Knievel is suing Kanye West for imitating him in his Touch The Sky video. I agree that it would be hard for Kanye to argue that the scene isn't an homage to the Snake River Canyon jump - but it's also pretty hard for America's Legendary Daredevil to argue that it isn't a parody.

Via The Smoking Gun.

Posted by Charles Star on December 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5)


Is it possible to own rights to music that hasn't been made? Axl Rose thinks so.

In homage to (and, if it needs to be said, parody of) the no-longer-eagerly-anticipated Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy, Colin Helb and Cornslaw Industries commissioned Chinese Democracy: A Tribute to an Unheard Album. Cornslaw asked artists to create songs based on the rumored song titles on the unseen GNR album and Chinese Democracy: A Tribute, a web-only album composed of original songs, is the result.

It appears that Mr. Rose is spending more time in his lawyer's office than in the studio: Cornslaw Industries has received a Cease & Desist letter (and a cease and desist MySpace message!) from Axl's attorneys.

A friend is worried that she is the only person who cares about Chinese Democracy. She shouldn't be concerned; Axl Rose also cares. Just not enough to release an album.

(Thanks, Colin.)

Posted by Charles Star on December 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (7)

MPAA: You Are All Enemy Combatants

In the wake of the Hewlett-Packard pretexting scandal (not to mention the furor over warrantless wiretapping), people seem to be thinking a lot more about privacy. So it seemed like a no-brainer that California would pass a strong bill protecting people from having their personal information given away under false pretenses.

Alas, Wired reports that the MPAA used all of its lobbying muscle to shoot down the pretexting bill. They were opposed because, according to an aide to the bill's sponsor ""The MPAA told some members the bill would interfere with piracy investigations."

I can already predict Wired's scoop for next month:

MPAA Opposes Anti-Torture Legislation

"The parents always say that they don't download," said an MPAA spokesman, "They say that their kids are using the computer. But the only way to get a parent to testify truthfully against their kid is with advanced deprivation techniques and sustained beatings." 

Posted by Charles Star on December 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bragging Rights

Twenty-plus years ago when I was in high school, Billy Bragg's records prepared me for heartache I would face, and authority I should question, in decades to follow. And although he was not able to brace me for the future of technology and its impact on music, I'm glad Bragg is still looking out for us.

Posted by Jack Silbert on August 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The cloudy side of Sesame Street

Bertramernest There is a sinister side to everything. On Sesame Street it is the closet. The Children's Television Workshop blew a gasket over Ernest and Bertram, a short film exploring the relationship of the muppets most suspected of being more than just friends after it screened at Sundance. I'm sure everyone has heard the joke about their relationship a million times but the execution here is fantastic. CTW's intellectual property concerns kept this film from wider distribution -- providing just enough of a Stay Free! hook to justify this post -- but, naturally, it is on You Tube (for the moment).

Andrew Hearst has it posted over at Panopticist. Enjoy it while you can.

Posted by Charles Star on July 10, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Meat and Candy

Stay Free!, by edict of the Board of Directors, is by and large a sports-free zone. That leaves me little reason to link to Gerard Cosloy's Can't Stop the Bleeding as I don't get any of his indie rock references. And then, out of nowhere, it became a trademark blog. Here's what I learned.

1) Meat Loaf sued songwriter Jim Steinman for the rights to the trademark "Bat out of Hell." Steinman wrote the songs on the album that Meat Loaf made famous so it isn't clear to me who should be able to claim the rights to the trademark. Meat Loaf wants it so that he can release yet another album bearing that title, which is reason enough to oppose it -- but for the fact that even if he doesn't get the title back he will still release the album.

2) It was common knowledge among nerds like me that the Baby Ruth candy bar was not named for Babe Ruth but rather for "Baby Ruth" Cleveland, daughter of President Grover Cleveland. It turns out that "common knowledge" is better described as PR bullshit.

Now that the candy company wants to be affiliated with Major League Baseball it has essentially admitted that the Ruth Cleveland story was a ruse to avoid having to pay Babe Ruth to use his name. Now that money can be made by both sides, everyone is friends again.

Posted by Charles Star on June 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Steamy Bat on Girl Action

Batwoman Pinup_1By now you must have heard the news that Batwoman is gay. I'd be the first to congratulate DC Comics on their progressivism if we didn't already know that - despite greenlighting Val Kilmer's codpiece - they are very sensitive to the suggestion that Batman is gay.

I'd probably be even more outraged at the hypocrisy if she weren't totally hot.

Posted by Charles Star on June 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)