• http://karl.wagenfuehr.net Karl Wagenfuehr

    Well, it’s exciting to see you are testing the waters of inlined comic-imaging in a website. Lesser mortals who have tried have been mercilessly cease and desisted. See for example http://www.cs.rice.edu/~dwallach/dilbert/.

    I myself have been cease and desisted for a small little test page I wrote for my own amusement and learning. I have since put it behind a password.

    It seems to me the current state of things is “you can’t do it because rich media companies with lots of lawyers say you can’t”. I find this disturbing. I don’t see the issue as being at all clear from the face of things.

    The Doonesbury cartoon on your page is being served by UComics’ (United Media, I believe) server. They have published the image there, and that is where it is coming from. If they have a problem with that, then they should fix it so that when your page asks for the image, you shouldn’t get it. (King Features does that — I have problems with that for other reasons, but at least it’s one step deeper into the contorversy.)
    This image is exactly the same image available for free elsewhere on the web. Isn’t the whole point of computers that they are suppossed to make our lives easier? Show me the image here, don’t make me click down offsite to be able to see what it is you’re talking about.

    So, in any event, I’m seriously gleeful to see someone of your stature entering this area. You can’t be frightened away with bluster and unsubstanciated threat!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jamesday James Day

    Mr.Lessig made roughly that point during a small part of his appearance on PBS’ Charlie Rose show a night or two ago: fair use is the right to pay a lawyer (to get your rights).

    I recommend watching the show to anyone who has it available for viewing. It appears that the audio of the show will be available in about three weeks at http://www.charlierose.com/archives/archive.shtm .

  • oliver

    Dear Prof. Lessig,

    exuse me for hijacking this thread.
    at some point of this Forum, someone requested a torrent for Outfoxed.
    I second this request and like to explain why.

    The finacial issue:
    I live in Switzerland. I’d gladly pay 10$ for the DVD. The shipping is 16$. The customs is free to charge howmuch they feel apropiate. This may be nothing, but could be as much as 20$, + another 20% tax.
    Now i’ve payed around 50 or so $ before to get a DVD and might do so to see Outfoxed.

    BUT, there’s an obscurity about the swizz law i’d like you to know about.
    To grey-import a DVD through Amazon to Switzerland, is a violation of law. Only a person or Company, which holds the right to distribute a Film in Switzerland, is alowed to import.
    I’m not a lawyer, but chances are high, that even if you personaly would mail a free copy to me, i’d still be a criminal.

    Now if there was an “official” torrent, i could download and watch the movie without the risk of violating the law.

  • Alan

    Signing off now. I used to come to read about leading edge thinking on copyright law and how we could help do improve the situation.

    Now I have to sort through daily biased pieces of political commentary that, unlike Lawrence’s other work, totally ignores the other side. For example, the Fox news bias material. Off course they have a bias – it is being attacked because it disagrees with the bias held by ABCCBSNBCCNBCNPR etc. There are countless examples of the blatant bias of these groups, to say nothing of the newspapers, yet they don’t fit the “Bush Lied, People Died” meme.

    Facing more than 3 more months of the election, I will sign off from until after the election. At that point I will come back and hope that Lawrence has stopped destroying his credibility as a thinker. This is Lawrence’s blog and he can use it however he wishes. He should know that he is slowly eroding the larger part (ie non Bay area) of his support base and supporting those people (Hollywood) whom he calls to task for their behavior re: copyright law.

    But that isn’t as important as proving Kerry/Wilson/Moore/Berger/Clarke/Clinton lied, oh pardon me, I meant Bush lied, people died.

  • jt

    Well said, Alan.

    I’d like to hear Dr. Lessig address this point that has been made four times in the last three updates.

    If he truly intends to stop covering issues in law and policy, then i’m going to take this blog out of my favorites.

    And there still is no commentary on INDUCE. *sigh*

  • http://karl.wagenfuehr.net Karl Wagenf�hr

    INDUCE seems to be old news around here. He commented on it June 23 through July 7. (The format of the blog makes it a bit unintuitive to find that stuff, especially if you’re just hearing about it now (like me coming from slashdot.org) and think it is newsbreaking; it’s easier to see in this thread (though how you are supposed to find this thread just from the home page is beyond me): http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/cat_bad_law.shtml

  • john

    “If he truly intends to stop covering issues in law and policy”

    yes, I’m sure that lessig.org is becoming disinterested in law and policy. Are you not aware that the Doonsbury strips are ABOUT law and policy ?

    A potential case from Fox to the creators of OutFoxed could be one of the first times that fair use is tried in real life in this way, and Lessig is involved with that. It’s a blog, not a news outlet.

    I can’t get Leo Kottke to play my favorite songs when I see him play, no matter how loud I yell from the audience, either. Maybe I should stop seeing him, cause he’s not giving me my way.

    (arms crossed, brows furrowed, stamping on floor) :)

  • jt

    “INDUCE seems to be old news around here.”

    No, it’s not old news. Everyone thinks it’s old news because there’s a lot of misinformation being passed around. The Senate Judiciary had a hearing on Thursday where we learned a number of things:

    1. Most everyone is opposed to the bill as it stands.

    2. The IEEE offered an alternate bill. (How does Larry feel about it? Beats me.)

    3. Hatch informed everyone that he intends to push some form of this bill through with or without anyone’s help.

    So, contrary to your comment, I believe that there have been significant developments in the INDUCE bill that merit a mention at the very least.


    “Are you not aware that the Doonsbury strips are ABOUT law and policy ?”

    Yes, I am aware of this. I am also aware that Fox is not going to bring an infringement action against Outfoxed. Therefore, this discussion is no longer valid for its original purpose.

    I would further argue that the last few posts dealing with Outfoxed mention no policy or law issues at all. They are simply political statements. Examples:

    * The July 23 post is nothing more than a comic strip that claims that Fox is biased. (No IP issues here)

    * The July 22 post is about O’Reilly and his temper. (No IP issues here either)

    * The previous July 22 post is a link to a comic strip about FOX and casualties in Iraq. (No IP issues here).

    * The July 21 post is to a review of Outfoxed. (No discussion of the fair use case)

    * Finally one post about Eldred on July 20. Hardly a huge issue though.

    * On July 18 we have a huge post about FOX being biased. (are we seeing a theme here?)

    * On July 17 we have two posts. One about Outfoxed being #1 at Amazon and the other about some guy in Williamsport inviting Republicans to see Fahrenheit 9/11.

    So I submit to you that if there is actually an important IP issue that is hidden in this FOX stuff, I am at a complete loss as to what it is. I can go and read liberal propaganda anywhere, and just because it’s Larry’s liberal propaganda doesn’t make me any more excited to read it.

    I am simply making the point that I (and likely many others) will not keep returning to this site if today’s front page is any indication of where this blog is going.


    “I can�t get Leo Kottke to play my favorite songs when I see him play, no matter how loud I yell from the audience, either. Maybe I should stop seeing him, cause he�s not giving me my way.”

    Maybe you should. If all he is playing are songs you don’t want to hear, then there’s probably no reason for you to keep listening to him. Why does that not make sense?

  • lessig

    You may be right about what is great readership-building strategy. I’ve never been much good at that. I write about the stuff (1) that interests me, and (2) that I have the time to finish. I’ve got literally 1,000 posts in a “to be blogged” folder that I’ve not had a chance to finish.

    INDUCE is something I’ve said lots about, and which I have a post to be completed about. More important is HR 107, which I have a followup post to complete. I am trying to finish all that. But it has become my life to be constantly behind in obligations.

    And re Fox: I am involved in this case because of the copyright issues. We’ll see whether necessarily or not, but I’m happy to criticize either side (or praise either side) for crossing that line. Indeed, I’ve praised the GOP for its view of fair use — which it backed down from, sadly.

  • john

    “If all he is playing are songs you don�t want to hear”

    I didn’t say that, I said he’s not playing songs I’m requesting, which doesn’t mean that what he is playing aren’t songs I don’t want to hear. You misunderstood the analogy.

  • Rolo Timassie

    Prof. Lessig, I take it you disagree with the first Kelly v. Arriba Soft 9th Cir. opinion, 280 F.3d 934 (9th Cir. 2002), withdrawn 336 F.3d 811 (9th Cir. 2003), that this sort of use infringes on the copyright owner’s public display right and is not a fair use. I know you’re busy, but I’m curious to see your argument on this point.

  • jt

    “INDUCE is something I�ve said lots about, and which I have a post to be completed about. More important is HR 107, which I have a followup post to complete. I am trying to finish all that. But it has become my life to be constantly behind in obligations.”

    Unfortuately, INDUCE has a few orders of magnitude better chance of passing than HR 107 does. Here’s hoping i’m wrong.

  • lessig

    All hangs on “this sort of use.” I’m not sure how a temporary posting on a blog would be viewed. I know how it ought to be viewed. But I’m removing the postings after a day, and providing a link. And again, I’ve requested to purchase the rights. Still no word…

  • http://karl.wagenfuehr.net Karl Wagenf�hr

    Now if you’d inlined a Dilbert comic, maybe they’d have been all over you already…

    Seems like Doonesbury’s sydicate (Universal Press Syndicate, not United Media like I said above) is less aggressive… or maybe Garry Trudeau has reserved some more liberal rights for his creation — I notice Doonesbury has complete archives on Slate — most comics online don’t. Or maybe it’s because of the perceived nature of Doonesbury, they magnaminously feel that a little discussion and fair use is allowed, unlike a ka-ching! strip like Dilbert or Garfield?

    In any event, I would like to question your use of the term “band-width stealing” (which I just noticed got removed when you removed the active inlined strip, so I have to amend that to “words like ‘band-width stealing’” since I can’t find the exact quote anymore — but it was there folks — really!). First of all of course the contentious word “stealing”. You’re not “stealing” anything when your page makes an http request and the remote server serves the content it was asked for. But that’s just a minor quibble compared to the deeper seated assumptions implied by the use, ie: that you are causing Slate’s servers more stress, wear-and-tear, usage, cost, by inlining an image as opposed to linking to it.

    Now this will vary on a case by case basis, but I think clearly in your case you are saving them bandwidth by directly inlining rather than linking. See, on your page, you can just about asume that everybody who visits your page is going to click on the link to see what it is you are talking about, especially when it’s the newest item on your blog. A click on the link causes 304 KB of information to be served, vs serving just the inlined image, which is 33 KB. So only about one-tenth as much band-width is needed! You are not stealing their bandwidth, you are saving it, even if only 1 in 9 visitor to your site would have clicked through the link! (Even more so because the actual image doesn’t even come from the Slate servers, but from UComics.)

    Of course, their real contention is that they don’t get to serve you the content they want (ie: ads) when you inline, but that’s a whole different argument than “stealing” bandwidth.

    (And yes, I am willing to concede that “bandwidth theft” can be a problem, especially if it is something being loaded that the person viewing the page would not necessarily click to see, and if you are a high traffic site inlining from a low traffic site — but I still don’t like the term “stealing” (or “theft”) for this…)