Wednesday, November 29, 2006
A Victory for Fair Use
It seems that the lawsuit against Stuart Frankel and his Barney parody website has been settled. I feel so much better. "Lyons Partnership (the corporation behind Barney and all his marketing arms) sent four threatening letters to a New York musicologist and computer repair technician who created a parody website that suggests Barney's affable public persona masks a secret double life. An image on the site depicts what the cute and cuddly Barney might look like offstage — with horns, sharp teeth, a pentagram and the devilish number 666 emblazoned on his chest."
There is a growing corporate assault on fair use rights, and Lyons Partnership's attack on Frankel is an example. Frankel sued them with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group of passionate people — lawyers, technologists, volunteers, and visionaries — working to protect our digital rights. Fair use allows copyrighted work to be used in parody as long as there is no commercial gain and it does not replace the market for the original material.
EFF has also taken on the Department of Homeland Security and passport monitoring; and they also have filed a brief saying the government must have a search warrant before it can search and seize emails stored by email service providers.
"Aside from the fact that this is a great story about Barney the purple dinosaur who sings 'I love you, you love me' and yet his lawyers are out there spreading anything but love, there's a bigger point out there," said Fred von Lohmann, attorney for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation. "For every case like this we find out about, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of situations that go unnoticed where free speech is chilled off the Internet."
I am serious when I say I can sleep better knowing there is EFF out there for us all.
Please remember to email your photos to me at jkblue at cox.net by Friday for this weekend's Good Planets are Hard to Find photo gallery.