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Cory Doctorow and Tolkien estate

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    Discussion by Cory Doctorow of actions of Tolkien estate: _http://www.boingboing.net/2011/02/25/tolkien-estate-censo.html_
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 28, 2011
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      Discussion by Cory Doctorow of actions of Tolkien estate:
       
       
      Wendell Wagner
    • Croft, Janet B.
      Interesting. So the button is a quote from Madeline Ashby and says While you were reading Tolkien, I was reading Evangelion. First, I don t think there s
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 28, 2011
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        Interesting. So the button is a quote from Madeline Ashby and says “While you were reading Tolkien, I was reading Evangelion.” First, I don’t think there’s really a good case to be made for taking that down – it’s not infringing on Tolkien’s intellectual property. If anything, the word ‘Evangalion’ is more of an IP infringement. The name ‘Tolkien’ may be trademarked, but I don’t think they could remotely argue that this is the sort of infringement that would confuse the buyer as to whether the item in question is a product of the rightsholder or not.  Second, getting back to the copyright argument, this looks to me like a (very, very short) piece of criticism, which is a protected fair use. (Madeline Ashby’s own comment on BoingBoing takes this approach, and she says the Evangelion people are not nearly so protective of their IP.)

         

        Also, as Sarah notes, this was a pre-emptive strike by Zazzle, not something demanded by the estate. I know from my own experience with CafePress (my t-shirt with a saying mashing up Éowyn’s encounter with the Nazgûl with Inigo Montoya’s most famous line) that these companies err on the side of being really, really cautious and taking things down before they can possibly come to the attention of the rightsholders. And they have the right to do that – you agree to abide by their rules when you post a design.

         

        So what we have here is an overly cautious decision by Zazzle, possibly based on their previous experience with the Estate and possibly just their standard reaction to ANYTHING that might be risky, applying trademark rules to something that looks like a fair use under copyright rules.

         

        The button designer COULD get around this on CafePress at least by making it a private design, purchasing them from his own store, and reselling them in person at the conference.

         

        Janet Brennan Croft

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        "Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the rising ape meets the falling angel." -Terry Pratchett

         

        From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of WendellWag@...
        Sent: Monday, February 28, 2011 7:53 AM
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [mythsoc] Cory Doctorow and Tolkien estate

         

         

        Discussion by Cory Doctorow of actions of Tolkien estate:

         

         

        Wendell Wagner

      • Joshua Kronengold
        ... Actually, I think in this case it s no the Tolkien estate that is the problem (though their watchdogs -might- have been involved). It looks like Zazzle is
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 28, 2011
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          Croft, Janet B. writes:
          >Interesting. So the button is a quote from Madeline Ashby and says
          >"While you were reading Tolkien, I was reading Evangelion." First, I
          >don't think there's really a good case to be made for taking that down
          >- it's not infringing on Tolkien's intellectual property.

          Actually, I think in this case it's no the Tolkien estate that is the
          problem (though their watchdogs -might- have been involved). It looks
          like Zazzle is restricting their merch to stuff that has -no-
          commerical references at all and claiming it as "intellectual
          property" when, in fact, it's nothing of the sort.

          Zazzle has rejected:

          Tolkien vs Evangellion (as in thread)
          "Colbert is God": http://www.flickr.com/photos/pip_r_lagenta/3328737287/
          An image of a vw beetle: http://204eastsouth.com/skippy/2010/08/zazzle-fail/
          A shirt mentioning Aang (from the Last Airbender): http://glockgal.livejournal.com/404245.html

          And so on.


          --
          Joshua Kronengold (mneme@...) "Release the tera- |\ _,,,--,,_ ,)
          --^--port patents...and drop everything into the public /,`.-'`' -, ;-;;'
          /\\domain. OPEN SOURCE." "It's so scary when you say |,4- ) )-,_ ) /\
          /-\\\it like that" -- Howard Taylor (Schlock Mercenary) '---''(_/--' (_/-'
        • Jeremy Edmonds
          Found this Boing Boing article about a Viacom issue as well. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090504/0420244738.shtml To summarize, Zazzle took down some
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 28, 2011
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            Found this Boing Boing article about a Viacom issue as well.

            http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090504/0420244738.shtml

            To summarize, Zazzle took down some T-Shirts that were referencing an upcoming Viacom animated movie (shirts did not name movie, but one design did mention a character by name).  The Zazzle takedown notice did say they were removed because of Intellectual Propery violations.  Viacom followed up, said they had no problem with the shirts, and asked Zazzle to put them back up.

            So Zazzle is definitely taking matters (over agressively) into their own hands in at least some cases.  I would definitely bet that the Tolkien Estate had nothing to do with the "button takedown fiasco".

            Jeremy


            On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM, Joshua Kronengold <mneme@...> wrote:
             

            Croft, Janet B. writes:
            >Interesting. So the button is a quote from Madeline Ashby and says
            >"While you were reading Tolkien, I was reading Evangelion." First, I
            >don't think there's really a good case to be made for taking that down
            >- it's not infringing on Tolkien's intellectual property.

            Actually, I think in this case it's no the Tolkien estate that is the
            problem (though their watchdogs -might- have been involved). It looks
            like Zazzle is restricting their merch to stuff that has -no-
            commerical references at all and claiming it as "intellectual
            property" when, in fact, it's nothing of the sort.

            Zazzle has rejected:

            Tolkien vs Evangellion (as in thread)
            "Colbert is God": http://www.flickr.com/photos/pip_r_lagenta/3328737287/
            An image of a vw beetle: http://204eastsouth.com/skippy/2010/08/zazzle-fail/
            A shirt mentioning Aang (from the Last Airbender): http://glockgal.livejournal.com/404245.html

            And so on.

            --
            Joshua Kronengold (mneme@...) "Release the tera- |\ _,,,--,,_ ,)
            --^--port patents...and drop everything into the public /,`.-'`' -, ;-;;'
            /\\domain. OPEN SOURCE." "It's so scary when you say |,4- ) )-,_ ) /\
            /-\\\it like that" -- Howard Taylor (Schlock Mercenary) '---''(_/--' (_/-'

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