Friday 5 December 2014

A comic book hero - by night she fought for fair use!

This looks like fun - a new comic book from Duke University that looks to translate some copyrights and copywrongs into an interesting, visual story that explains copyright - and some of the current problems with copyright. 

The heroine of the comic, Tales From The Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW?, is a documentary film maker, and she has to navigate the wacky world of intellectual property law, learn the fine line between  what might be fair use and what might be copyright infringement, and other conundrums with the tag lines "Trapped in a struggle she didn't understand" and "By night she fought for fair use"! The storyline  goes beyond art and photos and film making into the world of  digital remixes, the pitfalls of making videos of people, scenes and actualite, and other "tricky topics" such as using a clip of 'Happy Birthday' in the fictional film which is all about capturing a day in the life of New York, understanding copyright terms and the concept of public domain, and the issues behind accidentally featuring a few seconds of The Simpsons which was playing on a TV at the back of a shot. 

The authors are artist and cartoonist Keith Akoi, James Boyle, a law professor at Duke Law School  and Jennifer Jenkins, Director of Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain. 

As Lifehacker quite rightly says "At the very least, it's more engaging than a visit to the [US] government's copyright website."

You can download a digital versions of the comic for free, read all 74 pages in your web browser, or buy the print version for $6.

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