Fair use is an issue that will not have much resolution going forward. Users want to have some creative control over songs they own, and the governing bodies that by have a much more strict approach to that practice. It’s an age-old battle that’s been around since Walt Disney’s days, but now, with the ease of use the Internet provides, the situation is much more volatile, especially when some in the intellectual property litigation industry view copyright as a money-making device.
TechDirt’s coverage of fair use and public domain has been top notch. It’s a cloudy subject with very little compromise on either part. That being said, there are humorous approaches to this touchy subject, something Blink 182 attempted with their first music video release in eight years. To create their video, they offer the following explanation:
To launch our first single in eight years, AT&T helped us search YouTube for every instance of fans using our music without our permission. And then we rewarded them for it. This film is made out of clips from all those videos. Thanks for being a fan.
The surprising thing, at least from this perspective, is, after finding them, AT&T didn’t have takedown notices issued. That might have ruined the video Blink 182 was trying to make, however. The video in question:
It’s a mash of various clips and recreations, culminating in an entertaining video that also speaks a great deal about some of the creations fair use and public domain inspire. Granted, Blink 182 made it a point to say these songs were used without their permission, but they thanked the fans anyway. Of course, the entertainment industry’s view on fair use, public domain, or, well, using anything that they think they are entitled to is captured quite nicely in the following webcomic:
Too bad no one from the RIAA or MPAA shares the same kind of humor as the comic or Blink 182.
Considering the mentality of the entertainment industry rulers is much like this:
The RIAA’s Jennifer Pariser claimed that there’s no value to a work in the public domain. Apparently Pariser is unfamiliar with the works of Shakespeare. Or Beethoven. Is she serious? I mean, you could make the argument that it makes life more difficult to sell those works for the labels she represents, but those works have tremendous value. Pariser, of course, is famous for making ridiculous statements, sometimes under oath.
As long as this mentality has the inside track with the governing bodies of the U.S., fair use and public domain is not a luxury many people will be allowed to enjoy without legal hassles.
It should be said Blink 182 is entitled to determine how their music is used, but if a person actually purchases a song and makes a video that they don’t profit from, how was the artist’s brand damaged?