Terminally Incoherent

Utterly random, incoherent and disjointed rants and ramblings...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

USPTO tries to brainwash your children!

I stumbled upon this while browsing boingboing today, and I must say this page makes my skin crawl. If I ever have children remind me to add uspto.gov to the web filtering software. Besides, I think pr0n is much healthier for children than this revolting propaganda.

I think the "birds and the bees" conversation will be much more straightforward than the ethically overburdened "why entertainment industry tries to destroy fair-use" talk.

The one quote that really disturbed me was this:

Your mom gave you a printer that can print out iron-on transfers and you want to make a bunch of T-shirts with a famous cartoon character or movie star screaming your name.


IANAL but I think that making a custom "Bugs Bunny Hearts Little Johny" t-shirt for your kid hardly seems like copyright infringement. I would argue that this would fall under fair use. I think you are fine as long as you don't make the t-shirts for the whole neighborhood, or sell them to people.

How about this one:

You capture pictures from TV shows and post them on your website along with soundbytes that make you laugh.


You mean that the 62,600,000 web pages indexed by google under the keyword "screenshots", are committing some horrible copyright infringement crimes? Please tell me how does bunch of grainy battlestar galactica screencaps posted on the web financially hurts the people who produce the show? Is a kid posting the 15 second wave clip of the ewok song financially hurting George Lucas?

I used to moderate on a popular farscape message board and I knew people who had literally gigabytes of DVD quality screen captures, and hours of sound clips posted on their web pages. No one ever said anything to anyone. The only time Henson lawyers got involved was when people were selling t-shirts with Farscape logo on them.

This has always been a gray area. If you seek your lawyers against the screen-grabbers you are basically pissing off the most rabid, zealot fans. They usually have big following, as fans rally around them creating their own internet societies. These people are advertising your show for free! Geez...

You need to do a report for school and you found one on-line that's exactly what you were planning to write.


I'm at a complete loss with this one. Do people at USPTO know how to spell reference material? Obviously, they can't spell "prior art" but that's a whole different story...

Wendy Seltzer comments on the other questions in her blog. She makes some excellent points there.

Sigh... I think that teaching children about the counter-intuitive concept of "intellectual property" might be one of the hardest things I might have to do as a parent one day. How do you educate your children without mindlessly repeating the brain-damaging propaganda? How do you tell them the truth about greed, corporate corruption, and effects of clinging to a broken business model without destroying their innocence? How do you teach them how to fight the copyfight, and at the same time make them aware of the dangers of un-inhibited infringement?

Sex and terrorism are the easy things to explain compared to this...

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