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Copyright Observation

April 11th, 2005

I read this great webcomic called A Modest Destiny that is drawn by this real pompus guy named Sean Howard. Sean’s a bit of a webcomic drama queen. He’s taken on all the big names at one time or another, earning himself quite the reputation. Most of the issues surround what he defines as protection of his intellectual property. This past week he got into another squabble, although this time the evil perpetrator is a small time webcomic by a some kid.

While Sean’s claim of copyright infringement is tenuous given difficult questions of originality (its pixel art… only so many ways to express a given image with a limited number of pixels), that is not what is interesting. Traditionally when Sean gets upset he takes down the site and throws up a big tirade ordering his minions to flood the infringer with e-mails (nothing like web vigilantes). This time was no different, until yesterday when the comic was put back up by the site administrator noting that they had advertising dollars coming in so they needed to comply with those contracts, even if the dastardly infringer was still at large.

Now isn’t that interesting? Mr. Howard, who believes his IP rights give him unquestioned authority over what happens to his work, was taken down by a simple contract and a few hundred dollars in advertising revenue. It illustrates that the IP debate isn’t actually about destitute authors or oppressed singers… it is about a whole lot of money and who, when the tech revolution has settled down, is going to get a piece of it.

probonogeek Uncategorized

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