50 Shades of Copyright Infringement

What is “fan fiction” exactly? According to the website, Urban Dictionary, it is: “A fandom tool, which allows fans of books, television shows, anime and the like to write about their favorite characters. Fan Fiction (shortened mostly to Fan Fics) is represented on many websites, the most dominant being Fanfiction.net and MediaMiner.org. In Fan Fiction, the writer can either create a story from where the series/episode/book left off (Cannon); create a new world for the same characters (Alternative Reality); or mix characters together from different fandoms (Crossover). Fan Fictions cover all genre, from romance, horror, comedy, to what is known as Hentai (Japanese word, for stories of a sexually mature nature). The fan fiction world is full of a mixture of unreadable, badly written, good and excellent fiction; much like the music industry and its varying degrees of music quality. Some Fan Fiction authors employ betas, to edit their work for them.

“It takes a big studio to make The Avengers, but it doesn’t necessarily take a big studio to write a piece of Avengers fan fiction,” says Georgetown University law professor and fan fiction advocate Rebecca Tushnet. “Big content companies largely recognize that fan activities are really good for them because they engage people.”

The growing popularity of fan fiction, a genre in which fans create their own stories featuring characters or settings from their favorite works of popular culture, raises thorny copyright issues. “Given how broad copyright is now, it’s now possible to say fan fiction is an infringing derivative work,” Tushnet explains. “In order to deal with that… we now talk about fair use, which allows people to make fair, limited uses of works without permission from the copyright owner.”

As a member of the Organization for Transformative Works, Tushnet works to defend fan fiction creators caught in the legal debate between protected intellectual property and fair use.

Nick Gillespie (Reason.TV) sat down with Tushnet to discuss copyright law, fan fiction, and why media companies should embrace fan-created works.


Net Neutrality and Regulatory Economics

Professor and information law scholar Susan Crawford, author of Captive Audience (hardcover, paperback, Kindle e-book) was invited to speak at UC San Diego for the annual DeWitt Higgs Memorial Lecture. The topic of her nearly an hour long lecture was on the focus of what we would refer to as Net Neutrality in the realm of wireless and wired internet access between customers and online information through means of oligarchy and monopolistic service providers. The entire lecture can be watched in the video below.

Retaining Government Power to Make Economic Policy
for Internet Access: Role of the First Amendment.

DESCRIPTION: High-speed Internet access providers claim that government-imposed limitations on their activities raise serious constitutional concerns. But given the current absence of either competition or oversight in this market, providers are poised to have the market power to “edit” digital communications seen by users. Visiting Harvard Law School Professor and information law scholar Susan Crawford explores the current debate, elaborating on why there is a critical need for federal oversight of the cable industry to preserve the quality and reliability of high-speed internet access in America. Series: “DeWitt Higgs Memorial Lecture”. (www.uctv.tv)

The cast of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Revealed

The new cast of Star Wars Episode VII gather together for a read through of the script.
The new cast of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ gather together for a read through of the script.
The Star Wars team is thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer

Ferguson to Leave ‘Late Late Show’

This news about Craig Ferguson’s late night show coming to an end in December of this year makes me sad. He was the only reason I watched any late night talk show in the last five years! I will miss seeing his late night crap fest unlike any other late night talk show. However, there is always a chance that I can see his comedy tour if he ever rolls on down toward San Diego again. In the meantime we can watch hilarious interviews such as this one with actress Jennifer Tilly:

Below is the article from Variety that I stumbled across with the sad news about the final conclusion for The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.