Link Roundup

A few legal stories that might be of interest to followers of the OTW:

From UGC is More Than Hamsters on a Piano is an essay by Michael Weinberg at, talking about the “assumption that the UGC is essentially commercially worthless – it is all first grade ballet recitals, dogs jumping up and down, or kids falling off of skateboards. The real action (and money) is around the “real” content. Since the money will only come from the professional content, the concerns of today’s professional content owners (usually having to do with filtering or kicking people off of networks) tend to dominate the discussion.” But Weinberg points out that we are not all sitting around waiting for professionals to come and entertain us, and that today’s established studios may not have “the best interests of their future competitors at heart.”

From Meet the 42 lucky people who got to see the secret copyright treaty: Fans should be aware that a number of parties are trying to negotiate an international, anti-copyright treaty “that contains provisions that criminalize non-commercial file-sharing; require net-wide wiretapping for copyright infringement and border-searches of hard-drives and other devices; and disconnection from the Internet for people accused of violating copyright.” A lot of people, including, BoingBoing, the EFF, and others–are protesting the secretive nature of these negotiations.

From Rachel Maddow: Hey, Rachel Maddow follows BoingBoing: could we love her more? Rachel interviews BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin about the Ralph Lauren photoshop disaster–but gets that the real story was the attempted DMCA intimidation of BoingBoing after the fact, when reprinting the photoshopped image to mock it was a classic case of fair use. Because Boingboing’s ISP was in Canada, they didn’t have to comply with the DMCA, and Rachel immediately gets what she calls “the deeper part of this story”, that “ISPs just immediately cave whenever they’re confronted by anything like this, and it sort of hurts the first amendment.”

Lastly, our own Rebecca Tushnet caught the story that Mattel has licensed “Barbie Girl”. For those not familiar with the case, 12 years ago, Barbie sued the Danish pop band Aqua, claiming trademark and copyright infringement. The claim was dismissed and the song was ruled as protected speech. Now, Mattel has licensed and rewritten the song to promote its new line of Barbie products. If you can’t beat ’em…?

Legal Advocacy
  1. nrrrdy grrrl commented:

    I’d be delighted to see a Mattel version of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” wade into the pop cultural fray, since much use has been made of the original song in fanvids and other home-made video endeavors. If after siccing its army of lawyers on Aqua, if Mattel wishes to (unintentionally) embrace a song that is so often associated with non-commercial works of comedy and social commentary, I will enjoy the irony.

  2. Please leave a name commented:

    I have a desperate need of a Beta on a huge crossfandom work. If anyone can be of any help at all, please advice.

    Thank you in advance for whatever advice or help you can give,

    Tonya Trummer

    • Zooey Glass commented:

      Hi there!

      You might like to check out some of the betaing communities on Livejournal. find_me_a_beta and needabeta are both multifandom beta communities.

      Good luck with your project!