Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Can't believe I'm praising a lawyer

Stranger things have happened.

I can only describe as having a pro-pirating stance. The blog links a lot of articles defending people getting sued for pirating material. This week they linked Eric Ruth's response to a cease and desist letter. Ruth took down a version of the game DJ Hero he modified using 8-bit graphics to make the game look like it came out in the 1980s.

Clearly, making a free version of someone else's intellectual property with a slight cosmetic change is copyright infringement. It robs the owner of the property, which is either someone who created it or paid them for it. Ruth, on the other hand, never got that lesson and feels entitled to use other people's property. In this case, both the game and the music it features. He wrote:

In fact, the game may even be helping to sell some copies of music, which of course, benefits you in the end. Anyhow, I’ve used other “copyrighted” material in the past and have gotten no flack from it. This is the first time a C&D has ever reached my desk, and while I will honor it, I will also be honest with you about how I feel in regards to it. “It blows.”

I've never respected that gambit, that they should tolerate infringement because there's a chance it will pay off in the end. That decision belongs to the copyright holder, no one else. It should be their call to make. If they agree that it will benefit them, they will allow others to use it. No one else gets to make that decision for then.

But my real point, the one I pointed to in this post's title, is the lawyer's short, sweet reply.

US law is US law. If you think "it blows," write your Congressman.

Best regards,
J. Grannis

Well said.

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