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Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

Artist accuses Netflix of Stranger Things stormcloud theft

stranger things cloud theft

Heavey’s Stranger Things cloud


Sean R. Heavey thought the Hellish cloud hanging over the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, looked familiar. The town, the setting for Netflix’s hit TV show Stranger Things, was in the shadow of what Heavey thinks looked like his artwork. And then things escalated when Heavey was alerted to a scene on spin-off show Beyond Stranger Things (episode 3) on Netflix. He says his concept art that was used by the Stranger Things production team.


stranger things cloud theft

A Netflix original?


He wrote to Netflix, who told him it was ought luck. He says:

“They are saying the only similarity that exists is the use of a similar cloud formation, that copyright law does not protect objects as they appear in nature, and that an artist can’t claim a monopoly over real-world public domain objects such as a cloud formation. The problem with that argument is that it’s not a similar cloud they use — it’s my cloud photo.”

Real world? We’re talking about conceptual art and a fictional TV show.

Heavey has called in the lawyers. But isn’t Netflix right: viewing and adapting different sources for inspiration and an original story is fair use? Is Heavey sues and wins, won’t the makers of ET, Poltergeist, The Goonies and any number of sci-fi books and comics form a line to the copyright courts, suing the derivative show for borrowing and using ideas?

Spotter: Boing Boing

Posted: 11th, May 2018 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment

Judge rules: Taylor Swift’s lyrics are too ‘banal’ and ‘unoriginal’ to copyright

Taylor Swift’s lyrics are too banal to copyright. US Judge Michael W Fitzgerald has ruled in a case of alleged copyright infringement against the singer.

Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler claimed Swift’s song Shake It Off stole from their tune Playas Gon’ Play. They argued that Swift’s lyric relied on their lyric, “playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.”


taylor swift banal

Shakers gotta shake; makers gotta make; takers gotta take



Fitzgerald was unimpressed. His ruling is golden:

As reflected in Defendants’ RJN, and as Plaintiffs acknowledge, by 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters. Although Plaintiffs recognize as much, they allege that they “originated the linguistic combination of playas/players playing along with hatas/haters hating…” Plaintiffs explain that the plethora of prior works that incorporated “the terms ‘playa’ and hater together all revolve about the concept of ‘playa haters’” – a “playa” being “one who is successful at courting women,” and a “playa hater” being “one who is notably jealous of the ‘playas’” success.”… Plaintiffs explain that Playas Gon’ Play “used the terms in the context of a third party, the narrator of a song who is neither a ‘playa’ nor a hater, stating that other people will do what they will and positively affirming that they won’t let the judgment of others affect them.

Isn’t it great.

The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal. In the early 2000s, popular culture was adequately suffused with the concepts of players and haters to render the phrases “playas … gonna play” or “haters … gonna hate,” standing on their own, no more creative than “runners gonna run,” “drummers gonna drum,” or “swimmers gonna swim.” Plaintiffs therefore hinge their creativity argument, and their entire case, on the notion that the combination of “playas, they gonna play” and “haters, they gonna hate” is sufficiently creative to warrant copyright protection…

Looking at this this case from a potentially-protectable-short-phrase perspective, the lyrics in question are not sufficiently creative to warrant protection… Even if, as Plaintiffs contend, Plaintiffs were the first to employ the concepts of players playing and haters hating for the purpose of expressing “the idea of not concerning yourself with what other people do and think” …  the allegedly-infringed lyrics consist of just six relevant words – “playas … gonna play” and “haters … gonna hate.” In order for such short phrases to be protected under the Copyright Act, they must be more creative than the lyrics at issue here.

As discussed above, players, haters, and player haters had received substantial pop culture attention prior to 2001. It is hardly surprising that Plaintiffs, hoping to convey the notion that one should persist regardless of others’ thoughts or actions, focused on both players playing and haters hating when numerous recent popular songs had each addressed the subjects of players, haters, and player haters, albeit to convey different messages than Plaintiffs were trying to convey. In short, combining two truisms about playas and haters, both well-worn notions as of 2001, is simply not enough.

At the hearing, Plaintiffs’ counsel offered alternative (very clunky) formulations of pairing a noun with its intransitive verb, thereby suggesting that “[noun] gonna [verb]” was creative in itself. While clever, this argument does not persuade. The argument ultimately only makes sense if the use of “gonna” as a contraction of “is going to” is sufficiently creative, or (as discussed above) one can claim creativity in asserting that a type of person acts in accordance with his or her inherent nature. To explicitly state the argument is to see how banal the asserted creativity is.

In sum, the lyrics at issue – the only thing that Plaintiffs allege Defendants copied – are too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act. In light of the fact that the Court seemingly “has before it all that is necessary to make a comparison of the works in question” … the Court is inclined to grant the Motion without leave to amend. However, out of an abundance of caution, the Court will allow Plaintiffs one opportunity to amend, just in case there are more similarities between Playas Gon’ Play and Shake it Off than Plaintiffs have alleged thus far (which Plaintiffs’ counsel did not suggest at the hearing). If there are not, the Court discourages actual amendment. The more efficient course would be for Plaintiffs to consent to judgment being entered against them so that they may pursue an appeal if they believe that is appropriate.

Judges gotta judge.

Posted: 14th, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment

Descendants of leading ‘Nazis’ unite to earn money from Joseph Goebbels’ diaries

7th November 1935:  German Nazi politician and minister of propaganda Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897 - 1945) with his wife and children.  (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

7th November 1935: German Nazi politician and minister of propaganda Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897 – 1945) with his wife and children. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)


Copyright Balls: The family of Nazi spin doctor Joseph Goebbels earn royalties from extracts of his diaries published in a new biography by Peter Longerich.

Longerich writes:

“Goebbels repeatedly seized the initiative to play a pioneering role in Nazi ‘Jewish policy’: in 1933 at the time of the Jewish ‘boycott’, in 1935 with the Kurfürstendamm riots, in 1938 when in the summer he tried to unleash a pogrom and a few months later when he played an active role in the Nov­ember pogrom, and finally during the war with his continuing efforts to make Berlin ‘free of Jews’.”

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Posted: 10th, July 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment

Reader photocopies his Kindle to make a more expensive physical backup



Artist Jesse England’s “E-Book Backup” project sees him photocopy his Kindle version of George Orwell’s 1984. He photocopied every page, one by one. He then uploaded the scanned copy to his Kindle.

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Posted: 12th, May 2015 | In: Books, Reviews, Technology | Comment

Copyright crims: Universal sues prisoners over mix tapes

Chances are that if you are being sent mix tapes in prison you are not all that rich. But Universal music wants its cut of the pie. It wants prisoners to pay for those mixes:

“Such so-called ‘mixtapes,’ unless authorised by the copyright owner or owner of corresponding state law rights, are nothing more than collections of infringing, piratical compilations of copyrighted or otherwise legally protected sound recordings and copyrighted musical composition.”

So says Universal.

If you’ve bought the CD and want to share it with a friend – much as you might lend someone a book or a newspaper – you can’t.



Posted: 9th, January 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment

Copyright Law Result: Tonight We’re Going To Legally Burn CDs Like It’s 1999

Disc jockey Gregg Whiteside loads a disc into a compact disc player at WOXR radio station in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 1989. Whiteside says he uses CDs for 95 percent of the music he plays because "the sound is beautifully clean." LP sales are falling drastically while the compact disc's popularity is soaring. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Date: 15/02/1989

Disc jockey Gregg Whiteside loads a disc into a compact disc player at WOXR radio station in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 1989. Whiteside says he uses CDs for 95 percent of the music he plays because “the sound is beautifully clean.” LP sales are falling drastically while the compact disc’s popularity is soaring. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Date: 15/02/1989


GOOD news people from the past! You can now burn CDs and DVDs for personal use and no-one is going to send you to a jail to be beaten into a Spam fritter by an inmate with hands so large that each finger has it’s own rib cage!

That’s right; the incredibly up-to-date government has put through some legislation to update copyright law which means, from June 1st, people in the UK will be at their ease when copying music music and media purchased on one device, but intended for use on another.

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Posted: 31st, March 2014 | In: Music, Reviews | Comment

Your Kindle books, iTune songs and online videos are worthless

I’M sure we’ve all done the trudge down to the second hand bookshop when the shelves get overloaded. Get back 50 p a copy for the old paperbacks sorta stuff. Or the equivalent at the CD shop, even bundled up the stuff and gone to a car boot sale.

The big question in this modern digital age is whether we’re going to be able to do the same with out Kindle books, online videos and MP3 music files.

The short answer is: No.

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Posted: 8th, November 2012 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comments (3)

American lawyers threaten Southhapton’s Hobbit pub over copyright infringement

AMERICAN lawyers are threatening The Hobbit, a pub in Portswood, Southampton pub. The suits say the pub has committed copyright infringement by way of its name and Hobbit-themed signs.

The  Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) of California owns the rights to lots of  Hobbitt writer JRR Tolkien’s stuff. The pub has been called The Hobbit for the past 20 years. And that will no do.

We can only boggle at how much damage the boozer has done to the brand, but our expert says, “Depends how much money the American lawyers think you’ve got.”

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Posted: 13th, March 2012 | In: Money | Comments (4)

Eternal Copyright: Adrian Hon’s argument is for his use only

WHO’s for eternal copyright? Adrian Hon writes in the Telegraph:

On Tuesday 14th, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) posted a message on, stating: “If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law.”

SOCA’s threat is a stirring defence of what we hold dear in this country – the right of a creator to benefit from their intellectual property, whether it be a song, book, film, or game. Without this assurance of compensation, we might not see any new creative works being produced at all, and so it’s for this reason that we’ve continually lengthened copyright terms from 14-28 years as set out by the Statue of Anne in 1710 to “lifetime plus 70 years” today.

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Posted: 20th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment (1)

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodies: The Buma/Stemra Model For European Pirates

QUIS Custodiet Ipsos Custodies. Or to translate that into modern English, how do we make sure that the people we ask to make sure that bastards don’t steal from us aren’t bastards who steal from us?

Oh, sure, we can appoint all sorts of technocrats, bureaucrats, have politicians, even have independent organisations to monitor things for us. But what happens when they turn out to be breaching their own monitoring?

A board member of rights management company Buma/Stemra which represents composers and music publishers has stepped down amid allegations of corruption, the Volkskrant writes on Thursday.
Broadcaster Powned recorded a conversation between Jochem Gerritsand and  the lawyer of composer Melchior Rietveldt who claims the organisation owes him at least €1m in lost copyright fees.

Rietveldt wrote a piece of music for an anti-piracy ad which was widely distributed without his knowledge. In spite of numerous requests he was never paid for the reproduction of his music.

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Posted: 5th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment