November 9th, 2006

flamebusy

Copyright

I keep hearing different things on this.

People keep telling me that if you don't actively defend your copyright, and go after everyone you encounter that infringes on it in any way, that somehow this is going to hurt your ability to defend your copyright should somebody infringe on it in a way that hurts your income. (The argument seems to be that in court the infringers will be able to say "but they gave permission to so-and-so to do this, so I can do it too!")

And yet on the other hand, I also keep getting told by different people who own copyrights, and are high-profile, that they don't mind, and it's okay if I use their stuff, so long as I'm not hurting their income. (Alan Dean Foster and Mercedes Lackey have both given me permission to use their stuff, and Alan Dean Foster even gave me permission to sell it, with a note going something like "If you make scads of money selling fan art of my stuff, share, that's all I ask." I don't have the original letter anymore, and I've never sold any of the fan pieces anyhow, so it's a moot point. Though someday it would be awesome to make a Furcot suit, which I could probably manage to sell.)

If the people who say that you must actively defend copyright are correct, then these nice creators have just shot themselves in the foot by letting me use their stuff. And yet these nice ceators are all famous people who have been around a long time, and definitely have legal advice of their own.

I honestly suspect the "we MUST defend this" people of using that as an excuse for being [censored] about their work, and insisting that it's mine, MINE MINE! Either that or of having been contaminated by the [censored] types.

I don't suppose anybody reading this really understands copyright law? (Does anybody really understand copyright law?)
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