So Sue Me!

I really didn’t know what to expect going into this week’s segment on Copyright Law. My initial thought before watching the Renee Hobbs footage from the Winter Faculty Institute was that I should take a wild stab in the dark at the number of times I’ve probably violated copyright law in the last five years. I figured that her lecture was going to reveal more stringent user limitations than I could ever imagine. I was pleasantly suprised to hear about the “Fair Use Doctrine” which provides a level of protection to those that use copyrighted materials for educational purposes that meet established criteria. What a relief…all of those videos, images, and PowerPoints that I used in my classroom and in numerous presentations will no longer haunt me in my dreams! I know…I know… the Fair Use Doctrine isn’t saying that I have the right to use whatever copyrighted materials I want AND in any amount  just because it’s in the NAME of EDUCATION.  I definitely need to work on being more cognizant about giving credit where credit is due and sharing copyright information with others.

                                             Image courtesy of:  

On the flipside, the Remix videos by Kirby Ferguson put a different spin on the whole copyright hoopla.  After watching this series, I decided to do a brief google search on “most famous copyright infringement cases.”  Some of these cases are pretty crazy.  Check out Ten Famous Intellectual Property Disputes.  One of the most notorious suits is the Mattel vs. MGA Entertainment.  Although Mattel was awarded $310M for the Barbie brand image copyright violation, MGA Entertainment (Bratz) made $1B at the time of the award and would go on to make over $1B of revenue each year after that.  So what’s a $310M violation when your raking in over a $1B in annual revenue?  It’s all about  the money!


3 thoughts on “So Sue Me!

  1. Mike Fern says:

    Your top ten list of copyright case was entertaining and informative. (Do we need to credit David Letterman for the use of a top ten list?) Number 10 on the list reminded me of two similar cases about a commercial entity’s “look.” Jeep brought suit against Hummer saying Hummer’s front grille was too much like Jeep’s (which has seven open slots.) Jeep later dropped the suit. Similarly, BMW sued Hyundai (I think it was) for having a front grille that had two oval/kidney shaped openings on one of its new cars, just like BMW has had for a much longer time. I don’t know how that one turned out. Now, whenever I see either a Jeep or BMW I always look at the grille. It does seem to always be about the money.

  2. Money…that’s what drives the economy they say. But I think other soft qualities like caring and empathy really drive the country. We saw how this played out last with Hurricane Sandy, of course you need money as a medium of exchange…but so many people forget the purpose for money…certainly it was not intended to foster greed and selfishness.

    P.S. Elsey, like the feel and look of your blog.

  3. jannmarie says:

    OK-so after Mathieu commented on your blog title, I had to come and check it out. Great post!

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