Letting Society Advance Though Art and Innovation #
This video from Tom Scott on YouTube is a very good intro to everything I’ll be talking about on this page, I’ll assume you’ve watched it so that I don’t have to repeat everything that he says here.
What is Copyright? #
What’s Wrong With that? #
How do we fix it? #
I think to further address any issues we first need to look into how these issues have come to exist. In general, as a society advances new issues will arise. Computers and the Internet have shown us just how incredibly things can progress and how amazing un-hindered, open information flow can change the world. The Internet has served as an educational tool of unparalleled utility to my generation and has allowed me to learn things that I otherwise would have never had access to. Of course this also means the same for bad actors. Though acting in bad faith also now have the same unparalleled access to personal information of the masses and individuals can now use their anonymity and an Internet connection to do harm both to individuals via cyberbullying and trolling, but also to businesses as we move to a world that more heavily relies on ecommerce and the digital information they store becomes increasingly sensitive.
Unfortunately, the law is often far to slow or far to fast to react, leading to laws that simultaneously fail to protect our rights as smaller creators and punish many to harshly.(1)
Today, the most obvious example of this is the Right to Repair movement, a movement that has computer hackers and farmers fighting side by side to protect consumer rights.
HEVC is heavily patented. There are no less than 7,200 patents covering this compression method. This includes 39 patents from Apple: CN 03816739.5, 200810082232.0, 201210009977.0; DE 603 34 804.1, 603 41 992.5, 603 41 994.1; FR 1532746, 2326019, 2328283; GB 1532746, 2326019, 2328283; IT 1532746, 2326019, 2328283; JP 5385233; KR 850,810, 1,210,015; and US 7,292,636, 7,339,991, 7,551,674, 7,769,084, 8,090,023, 8,090,026, 8,094,724, 8,094,729, 8,630,339, 8,711,924, 8,737,462, 8,737,468, 8,737,484, 8,743,951, 8,817,883, 8,831,106, 8,837,580, 8,837,597, 8,934,546, 8,934,551, 8,942,287. This should be enough to discourage any company from using HEIF, even if it does offer a better compression versus file size ratio
Societal standards of art, making fun of something because it’s different
What we should do about this:
[TODO] Marvel, Pink Floyd, and Minecraft Vs Web comics, indie, and Minetest.
[TODO] ethics of piracy, when it’s okay, who it affects, etc.
Because these many of these sites are tecnically hosting illegal content, they tend to change domains a lot. One of the better ways to be sure you’re not going to a Honeypot, a fake site used to catch people, is to check what domain the Wikipedia article refers to, for example for scihub:
Open Directories #
[TODO what is an open directory]
For the Hackers, Makers, and Engineers #
Cory Dottorow is a huge name when it comes to speaking on how copyright matters to those of us that like to create with code and wires. I really recomend reading his post about why There are no digital rights, only human rights. and watching this video about the War on General-Purpose Computing.
- By 'slow' I'm primarily referring to the lack of or incompetence of consumer data protection law. GDPR is definitely a step in the right direction on this; however, that is both only for the EU and was implemented far too late. By 'fast' I had the DMCA in mind, which is wildly considered to be both overreaching and to harsh. Simultaneously, we lack real power as consumers, copyright is a game the rich can play with expensive laywers and the small creator can't afford to defend.
For the furries #
No, you can not copyright your species or make a ‘closed’ species. While I am not a lawyer, I can say with a pretty high degree of certainty that your claims of copyright over a fictional species would not stand up in court.
Here’s some other people telling you exactly the same thing:
The TLDR? You can’t copyright an idea.
Also in response to Closed Species and Copyright: I Asked a Lawyer from Riipurr
[…] if the character still resembles Doraemon enough, you can get sued for it.”
Yeah, that doesn’t mean anything. You can be sued for anything. Weather or not a judge will agree with you is a wildly different question. While, again, IANAL, I have read way to much copyright law and work with people that actively push the limits of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and know enough to justify my donations to the EFF.
If someone were to trace your work. Definitely, that’s copying, you’re in the right, you’d win.
If someone were to draw what was very obviously your character with minor tweaks, again, you’d win.
If someone were to draw a new character, with significantly different markings, but of the same species? Probably not. Unless your species has some incredibly specific details that are in of themselves a copyrightable work that the person also copies you’re going to have a hard time. You do seem to get this as you say
we were mainly discussing about species with distinguishable physical features and not simple hybrids like a plain cat with wings, etc. You’d have to make the cat’s silhouette unique enough to make it its own, new thing (like scarfoxes)
But, really? Looking at Scarfoxes I’d really question the claim that there’s enough copyrightable material here. Remember, ideas are not copyrightable. To me, this looks like you’re claiming the idea of making a fox like character with upright ears and a stiched-style face is the copyright. If the silloute were to exactly match one of these, yeah, that’s infringement, but making something that uses a similar idea is not. Similarly, you can’t copyright a word- that would be trademark, and unless you intend to file for it you don’t get it by default like you do copyright.
Further down you even said
To be frank, I don’t quite care about the legality of all these. It’s just that people who excuse ripping off artists and others because “duuhhh laws say I can” really annoy me.
Yeah. And that’s fine. But you need to realize that when you’re trying to claim copyright of something so broad you’re saying “This idea belongs to me” seemingly unaware that you’re possibly infringing on the ablity of other artists to make things that honestly weren’t inspried by your work, that just happen to be similar.
At the end of the day, this comment is the one that matters:
One thing to consider about this, though, is that people are unlikely to sue over characters being copied because typically the legal fees would be too high to make it worth suing.
Most definitely! This is simply an answer to something that’s been bothering me for a while.
THIS. It’s often not worth your time to sue, so unless you’re damn sure that somebody is infringing - that is it’s traced, the outlines match, the colors and markings are exactly the same - you wouldn’t. That’s exactly the point of copyright. It’s in the name.
This is not an attack on Riipur (seriously, I don’t even know them, and their art is actually bomb as hell), rather it’s a statment to the furry comunity: Quit. Your. Bullshit.
Because this really bothers me, here’s a list of examples I find particularly offensive:
I could literally go though deviant-art and find these all day.
If you do this, as an artist, you are harming the furry community by claiming ownership over an idea. It deters other artists from being able to draw things they do have the right to, and it’s really just a form of gatekeeping. I do understand the desire to claim your own work and get the value you deserve out of it, but closed species are often stepping over the line and claiming ownership of an idea, something you do not have the right to do.
Yeah, our current copyright system is 300% ultra forked for small creators. I understand. And yeah, I’d be super pissed off if some nazi-fur made a dutch angel dragon and paraded it around.
But then we come to the real solution: If you want to have a closed species, you need to make sure it really does pass the bar where others would associate the species with you, that any creature, regardless of colors and sub-designs, is so obviously a derivative that everyone recognizes it (and as such could associate it with you). Examples of this are easy: Protogens, Sergals, and Dutch Angel Dragons (albeit the last one is hella debatable)
So next time you’re thinking about calling your Lynx-duck hybrid a closed species,