April 13, 2004

Killing Expression

JD Lasica writes in The Killing Fields "of culture" about "copyright law and its challenges" and Jed Horowitz, who made Willful Infringement (a documentary for $15k!) during and after being sued by Disney for copyright infringement. Horowitz was making his own trailers for the Disney movies he was lawfully selling through Video Pipeline. He lost, because it's not fair use to make trailers of copyrighted movies. But the experience made him very aware of how copyright law stops innovation and shuts down certain kinds of expression. Many of the movie’s examples show much better than his particular story how copyright law in the digital era has been abused. Disney it seems to me had a case with Horowitz, though I think they should have worked with him, not sued him - and this is part of the problem: copyright holders only seem to know how to work the most extreme angle instead of figuring out a better solution against infringement.

One of the stories from the movie is about two party clowns who've been warned not to make balloon animals that resemble too closely any Disney characters. That seems utterly ridiculous and heavy handed.

Posted by Mary Hodder at April 13, 2004 10:44 AM | TrackBack

"utterly ridiculous and heavy handed," yes. but surprising? alas, no.

Posted by: JD Lasica at April 16, 2004 01:43 AM