OTW Fannews: IP From New to Old

  • A post at JD Supra focused on the way fair use is being seen in U.S. courts following a decision in Fox News Network, LLC v. TVEyes, Inc. “More broadly, decisions like TVEyes suggest that courts are moving away from viewing fair use as a narrowly-drawn exception to copyright holders’ exclusive rights in their works, to the view that fair use promotes the creation of transformative works and thus serves one of the goals of copyright law itself. The TVEyes opinion, which essentially presumed transformativeness of the work at the outset of the fair use analysis, suggests that the trend toward this broader view of the role of fair use continues to gain traction in the federal courts.”
  • OTW legal staffer Heidi Tandy reported on a lawsuit against LiveJournal (LJ) that was thrown out of court. The company Marvix claimed copyright infringement when its photos were posted on the LJ community OhNoTheyDidnt. But Marvix failed to first file a DMCA takedown request, moving immediately to a lawsuit. “LiveJournal has done other sites, platforms, communities, fandomers, news sites and forums a great service by seeing this lawsuit through. Mavrix has a pattern of using a threat that sites owe it hundreds of thousands in damages if one of their users – or even they – post a single photograph owned by one of Mavrix’s paparazzi.”
  • In a column on intellectual property in India, Zoya Nafis wrote about trademark and fanfiction. “Intellectual Property Rights are granted with an objective that they shall promote innovation and encourage creators to create more. They act as an incentive to create the work. They should never be used to impede innovation. Fan Fictions are creations by amateur creators who if given opportunity might create something great in future; therefore a lenient and balanced approach must be taken towards them.”
  • The copyright education project CopyMe released a third episode, focusing on the history of how copyright came to be. “On the one hand, history shows us that copyright was designed for control more than anything else and that the state got away with this for over two centuries. On the other hand, businesses always feared new technology and lobbied for state protection, with arguments about authors’ safety. These two sides have always lurked in copyright’s underbelly and, over the course of three more centuries, managed to erode all the public good that copyright was primarily designed to promote.” (Subtitles available).

What cases involving copyright and fandom have you seen? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

2 thoughts to “OTW Fannews: IP From New to Old”

  1. An interesting copyright situation for me is that of an indie video game development company doing a kickstarter right now. Their game is called uCraft, and it’s basically, “if mojang/Microsoft won’t put minecraft on wii u, we’ll do it ourselves”. How much do they need to do to make it really transformative? I want to support them but I don’t want to be throwing my money away.

    1. Since the OTW, and our Legal Committee’s, focus is on noncommercial fanworks the question is somewhat outside what we do since this seems to be a commercial endeavor. You may want to address your question directly to the video game development company itself; they have probably already considered this question and could give you a more helpful answer than we could.

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