Game Music Copyrights

About the Game Music Bundle I wrote about earlier:

We’re writing this blog post with a heavy heart as we have had to make some changes to our original Retro Game Music Bundle lineup. You might notice that Duke Nukem 3D, Duke Nukem II, Major Stryker, Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure, and the NUKEM 3D: Remixes album are currently not available.

Although we dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s before Retro GMB’s launch, there are now multiple people claiming rights to certain tracks within our bundled content.

On The Media: The Past, Present, and Future of Ownership

If the current state of copyright law interests you (AND WHY SHOULDN’T IT) you should check out this episode of On The Media covering fan fiction, 3D printing, and a segment with The Trichordist‘s David Lowery.

David Lowery of bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven thought the internet would become a vibrant new marketplace for creators. Instead, he says, the internet era is worse for artists than the infamously unfair record company system. Brooke talks to Lowery about what’s wrong and how to fix it.

…I don’t remember if they discussed how to fix it, other than reducing the cut that digital distributors get.

New Study Debunks Data Showing File-Sharing Helps CD Sales

“Common sense is, or should be, the handmaiden of economic analysis. When given the choice of free and convenient high-quality copies versus purchased originals, is it really a surprise that a significant number of individuals will choose to substitute the free copy for the purchase?”

By 2007 CD sales were already on the way out. I’m not sure any study has separated the effects of file sharing from the effects of a format shift.

This may be a fun academic exercise, but it feels like fighting the last war.

Major Network Copyright Infringement

Brian Kamerer:

Dear Jay Leno,

First off, my intention is not to fight you on this. You have more cars than I have dollars, and so I know I don’t stand a chance legally, and on top of that, I don’t really understand how legal stuff works. But the truth is you kind of fucked up my shit and I need to talk to you about it.

Man we need some laws or something so that we can prevent this copyright infringement stuff.1

I believe this sort of thing happens all the time. Watch any news cast where they show cute Youtube clips and what should you might ask yourself, besides why news shows are showing cute youtube clips instead of reporting on news, is if they ask each video owner for permission to use each clip.

Anyone else remember when Real Time with Bill Maher used somebody’s photo without permission? They at least paid that guy.


  1. Of course, this whole thing could have been avoided if the Leno staff had written “No Copyright Intended” on the clip. 

Copyright Maximalism

Good short read for anyone else who thought it was weird that licensing an old Beatles song costs a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

Instapaper’s Copyright Infringement

Marco Arment talks about his app and the iOS App economy on NPR’s Planet Money.

I have mixed feelings on Instapaper. On one hand I love it. Instapaper provides a genuinely useful service and lets me read articles on my iPhone, in my web browser, on my iPad, and my Kindle. It enables me to read articles I probably wouldn’t bother to read if Instapaper didn’t exist.

But I also think the entire app is built upon copyright infringement. Instapaper removes articles from their original context, including the scummy Adwords blocks that may surround articles. When you view them on Instapaper.com you get an ad via The Deck. To use it on your iPhone and iPad you need to buy a $5 application. Instapaper has also introduced an optional subscription for extra features at about $1 a month.

In most cases this is taking someone else’s property and using it for a commercial purpose.1 I assume the only reason why almost nobody in the tech press talks about this is because Instapaper is so beloved.


  1. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to Instapaper, but everything in the Read Later category of applications. Instapaper allows publishers to opt-out. I’m not sure you can say the same for Safari’s Reading List feature. 

Congress can take works out of the public domain now

Something about international treaties.

In dissent, Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito said the legislation goes against the theory of copyright and “does not encourage anyone to produce a single new work.” Copyright, they noted, was part of the Constitution to promote the arts and sciences.

“No Copyright Intended” by Andy Baio

People who write “no copyright intended” don’t really understand what copyright is. They’ve grown up in a world where sharing and remixing is the norm.

If you were growing up in this age you’d probably say “no copyright intended” just like these kids today.

The first comment here makes an excellent observation on what copyright means to teenagers: a claim of ownership.

Little Shop of…let’s add a pony here, yeah, that’s more like it

The licensing agencies that be took away the rights to a modified performance of Little Shop of Horrors performed by the Boxcar Theater Company. The modifications violate the terms and conditions that performance groups agree to in order to be allowed to do a show. This report on Playbill.com hints at some of the changes made in the Boxcar production.

I think this response from Jason Robert Brown1 is closest to my thoughts:

The problem that Nick doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge is that the words “LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS” are what sold his tickets. He needed the authors’ work in order to do his job of making wonderful, thrillingly creative theater out of it. But to suggest that those authors shouldn’t be allowed to collaborate (by their approval) in his process is grossly unfair.

I think if you’ve ever used a Creative Commons license you may feel the same way.