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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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More proof that copyright has become a tool for the attempted suppression of political speech, rather than for providing creative incentives.

Check out this controversy concerning the 'unauthorized' use of a photo which depicts the President smoking when he was a student:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2009/08/rs-norml5.html

The person who snapped a photo of Obama smoking a cigarette in a manner similar to joint objects that others might use it to make "political" statements.

"They do not have my permission," said Jack, a psychology professor in Minnesota. These photos "are absolutely not to be used in this way. ... I really made a grand effort to do this properly, and I'm very irritated. If I'd wanted these to be used for political purposes, I'd have sold them to Hillary years ago."

Even under the current stifling copyright regime, the claim is problematic. The creators of the poster cropped a significant part of the original photo and put a green tint on it. The only 'creative' element they ultimately copied is the pose supplied by Obama himself - not any creative elements that are inherent to the underlying photograph. There would seem to be a strong case to be made that is an instance of 'transformational' fair use.

Regardless, some of the comments made at the Washington Post sight are sad to read. People are happy to censor political speech under the guise that such speech is somehow "stealing" from other people.


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