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Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien estate sends cease and desist letter to Zazzle

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  • scribbler@scribblerworks.us
    I went back and looked at the two links, and noted some crucial things. (1) The Giro rant says that she got the take-down notice from ZAZZLE, not from the
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 28, 2011
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      I went back and looked at the two links, and noted some crucial things.

      (1) The Giro rant says that she got the take-down notice from ZAZZLE, not
      from the Tolkien estate.

      The wording from Zazzle is not reproduced, and the indication that it was
      in response to a C&D from the Tolkien Estate was made as "Guess who
      complained about copyright infringement?" - which is not really a clear
      indication that the Estate lodged a complaint about her specific button.

      (2) The Language Log link merely picks up the Giro rant, but says
      (although it is NOT explicity said in the Giro rant) that Giro received
      the C&D from the ESTATE (which is not what the original post says).

      I think what Giro does not "get" is that both Zazzle and Cafe Press have
      made a POLICY of watching out for products which use "Tolkien" or ANY of
      specific Tolkien related keywords (hobbit / Gandalf / Sauron, etc.) and
      have those products taken down. As a matter of POLICY in order to avoid
      lawsuits from the Estate. They don't wait for the Estate to move, if they
      happen to catch it.

      It's possible that if she had responded to ZAZZLE by observing that HER
      button did not infringe on trademarks, and was within Fair Use of
      Tolkien's name, she could have had her Precious Button back up in short
      order. But that would require her actually learning a few key things about
      copyright and trademark and it's more fun to go off ranting about Big
      Meanies.


      > That's very interesting, Carl: do you happen to have any links to
      sources
      > expressing that perspective?
      >
      > Certainly it does sound odd, to supposedly sue over a single button that
      does not itself infringe copyright or trademark, so I cite again the
      rule
      > of thumb I posted here last week: "If you read about what appears to be
      a
      > totally absurd lawsuit, either 1) there's a lot more to the story that
      you're not being told (the McDonald's coffee case is the classic example
      of this), or 2) it was thrown out by the judge at the first
      opportunity."
      >
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      >>From: "Carl F. Hostetter" <Aelfwine@...>
      >>Sent: Feb 27, 2011 11:19 PM
      >>To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      >>Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien estate sends cease and desist letter to
      >> Zazzle
      >>The linked articles both fail to note that Zazzle.com sells a great many
      >> items in/on which Tolkien's name and/or associated characters,
      entities,
      >> places, etc. feature prominently, the net effect of which is
      >> indistinguishable from producing and selling a line Tolkien-related
      products: i.e., Tolkien merchandizing on a non-trivial scale. The
      Estate
      >> has every right to protect its trademarks by prohibiting their
      >> unauthorized (and unlicensed) use in such large-scale merchandizing
      efforts.
      >>Of course, it's much more provocative to pretend through silent omission
      >> that the Estate is suing over of a single button. That gives one that
      warm, tingly feeling of self-righteous outrage that is so highly prized
      these days, and it drives people to one's site.
      >>Carl
      >>On Feb 28, 2011, at 2:02 AM, WendellWag@... wrote:
      >>> Another threatened lawsuit by the Tolkien estate:
      >>> http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2999
      >>> http://www.giro.org/2011/02/23/the-jrr-tolkien-estate-can-go-fuck-itself/
      Wendell Wagner
      >>------------------------------------
      >>The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
    • Jef Murray
      Greetings! Just to give an alternative perspective, I personally, along with John Howe and Ted Nasmith, had my works appear on Zazzle items for sale with no
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 28, 2011
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        Greetings!

        Just to give an alternative perspective, I personally, along
        with John Howe and Ted Nasmith, had my works appear on Zazzle
        items for sale with no mention of who owned the copyrights, and,
        of course, no mention of who had created the works, no requests
        for my approval, etc.

        This is basically theft. And it is theft whether I am
        the victim or whether the Tolkien Estate is the victim. The
        size and wealth of the owner of the copyrights does not matter.

        This sort of looting has been going on for years now, not only
        with Zazzle, but with other sites. Like the hydra, as soon as you
        slay one of these sellers of stolen goods, another springs up.
        And, although I will confess to being flattered by being in
        the same company as John and Ted, I expect that that novelty
        will wear off pretty quickly...

        No, this suit by the Tolkien Estate is not about a single
        button. It is about Zazzle not policing (or even screening, from
        what I've seen) the folks that offer items for sale to make sure
        that said items have the approval of the copyright holders. Alongside
        of my work, John's and Ted's, there were buttons and other items that featured the original JRRT-created cover image artwork from "The
        Hobbit". Again, all of these were unacknowledged and unlicensed;
        someone basically snagged an image off the internet, slapped it on
        a mug, and started making (or trying to make) money off of it.

        Although it's not a popular topic, it serves all of us as
        a community to make known and observe copyright laws regarding
        mythopoeic and other materials. Many of us are writers, authors,
        and creative folk of every stripe. When any of us is robbed by
        folks like some of the merchants on Zazzle, we are all robbed.
        Artists are a struggle breed, and there's little enough remuneration
        for a lot of what we do without having looters abscond with the
        results of our efforts. The end result of this, left unchecked,
        is that none of us will be able to legitimately support ourselves
        through our own creative efforts, as the market will be flooded
        with illegitimate products faster than we can create new ones....

        I know I'm largely preaching to the choir, here. But, I do
        think it's mighty easy to demonize the Tolkien Estate primarily
        because they are aggressive in defending their rights. Unfortunately,
        many of us smaller artists have not the resources to protect ourselves
        in similar fashion...so even if all that results from the TE's
        lawsuits is that folks think twice before looting other artists,
        I can't help but think this is a good thing.

        Nai i-Valar tiralyë

        Jef




        =================================================================== Mystical Realms - Exploring the boundaries between worlds.....
                 http://www.JefMurray.com
        ===================================================================
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