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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Reign of Copyright Paranoia

When it rains, it pours. For some strange reason, I've had two critques back-to-back that were trying to tell me something about copyright uses that was wrong. Two different issues too. One said I can't say "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the other said I can't say someone looks like Lando Calrissian. The first one is obviously wrong, as you can't copyright a title. The second one is wrong because I'm not using Lando Calrissian the character, I'm using him as a reference. And that should be covered under fair use.
This worries me, when writers are ignorant about what copyright covers and doesn't cover. It's an important issue when writing, like ethics in journalism. It's important to know that you can say stuff about that which has already been created before. I don't expect anyone to know the nitty-gritty. But you should have a broad understanding of fair use, and what can and cannot be copyrighted, like titles and areas. And unfortunately orgs like the RIAA and the politicians in their pocket have made everyone paranoid to the point where they just hide their heads in the sand. That's no way to write - in fear. The other half have made people think that absolutely everything in the world is copyrighted and you can't touch it with a ten-foot pole without shelling out. The asshat who trademarked "Let's Get Ready to Rumble" probably had a hand in that.
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