Tag Archives: copyright

Public domain victory! SpaceX photos now belong to you

It’s an exciting time for photographs from space. Last month, when Elon Musk’s privately held company SpaceX posted photos taken during a successful satellite launch, I noted that, unlike every picture NASA has ever taken, these wouldn’t enter the public domain immediately by default. It may have been an unintended side effect of the copyright […]

“Blurred Lines” trial starts today

I wrote a piece for a new-ish publication called Ratter about the impending copyright trial between Pharrell, Robin Thicke, and the estate of Marvin Gaye, about whether the song “Blurred Lines” infringes on “Got To Give It Up.” In particular, the judge has done some unusual things in terms of what is allowable evidence, given […]

Earth to Elon: please let the public domain have space photos

It probably goes without saying that I am a strong supporter of Techdirt’s call for Elon Musk to release space photos taken by SpaceX into the public domain. It would continue a tradition of unrestricted space photos that began with NASA’s images—necessarily public domain, coming from a U.S. government agency—but which is jeopardized when space […]

3 circus posters that changed the face of copyright law

The 1903 Supreme Court ruling in Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co. was a hugely influential for turn-of-the-century copyright. Bleistein was an employee of a company that had designed circus posters for The Great Wallace Shows. Donaldson was a competitor of that company, and agreed to print a subsequent run of those same posters without authorization. […]

On Lichtenstein and “theft”

There’s an emotionally compelling comic going around now that shows some of the hardships artist Russ Heath faced in the decades after Roy Lichtenstein appropriated one of his panels in a now famous painting. Per the comic, Lichtenstein sold the painting for four million dollars. (I’m not sure where that figure comes from, as another […]