Anyone who has worked in reality TV knows that much behind-the-scenes work can be involved in creating drama and comedy that are lacking in the real lives of reality TV show participants. I’ve represented both reality show producers and reality TV stars, and can say there’s much content in reality shows that is fictitious — or at least constitutes a form of induced reality. For example, participants (in other words, characters) are prodded into being villains or buffoons. They are tricked and trapped, all in the name of good entertainment.
The prodigiously talented Prince – singer, composer, guitarist, dancer, and more – is also a frequent instigator of litigation. He clearly takes his copyrights seriously. He’s not always as transcendent in the courts as he is in Paisley Park, however.
Book publishers have always set the suggested list price of printed books. Bookstores were free to sell the books to customers like us at any price. In days that seem ancient now, mega-bookstore chains like Barnes & Noble, Walden, and Borders engaged in deep discounting. Many independent bookstores couldn’t compete and they went out of business.
Like any traditional content-based business encountering digital distribution, publishers tried to cling to their old ways. Please refer to the history of the music business over the past decade for how that view of the world worked out.
Celebrity-focused websites are wildly popular. Websites are incredible vacuum cleaners of content. Photographs are easy to copy and publish without authorization. You get the picture: photographs are easy to steal. Photographers are truly challenged in making money from the licensing of their images because of this combination of forces.
In 2010 Kenneth Laurion was admitted to a hospital in Duluth, Minnesota after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. David McKee, M.D., a neurologist examined the patient at the hospital. From the perspective of Mr. Laurion’s family, the examination did not go well.
A confession: I never finished Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (aka In Search of Lost Time); neither in English nor in French. I did finish Haruki Murakami’s IQ84; all 1186 pages of that book. Moby Dick, too, even the whale dissection parts. I have high hopes for completing David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. But I wouldn’t want the author or the publisher to know what I had finished, nor what my lack of time, tedium, or distraction had caused. I wouldn’t want them to know which sections I lingered on and re-read. Some readers of Fifty Shades of Grey might really not want such behavioral information shared.
It’s a little-known fact that the Librarian of Congress has the power to determine if you can “unlock” your mobile phone/PDA in order to change the telephone/ISP service accessible on the device. You might not think a librarian could be that powerful, but it’s the law.
Can you legally resell your second-hand digital files? That’s an unusual question not yet directly answered by the courts.
U.S. copyright law’s first sale doctrine says that a purchaser of a legally made book, a DVD, or other physical object embodying a copyrighted work may legally resell that copy. (You can’t make copies of the work or make a movie of the book you bought, though.)
Is copyright law effective in achieving its intended purpose of incentivizing creativity? Professor Peter DiCola of Northwestern University Law School is the author of an interesting new study, Money from Music: Survey Evidence on Musicians’ Revenue and Lessons About Copyright Incentives.
Professor DiCola once named Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois album as the best album of the prior decade. (http://www.thecontrarianmedia.com/2009/12/8717). Professor Peter DiCola showed perfect judgment in that regard. So I pay attention to his work.
Copyright protects creative expression such as music, books, and computer software. But copyright doesn’t protect everything that’s creative. For example, copyright doesn’t protect short phrases, mere ideas (that’s the job of patents), and “useful articles” (such as automobiles and appliances) no matter how elegant their design may be (with only a couple of exceptions mentioned below). The Copyright Office says: