Orphaned works are that special case in copyright law. You can tell, roughly, when they were created, but you can't find the owner.
It effects books, newspaper or magazine articles, or films that are still protected by copyright but for which the copyright holders cannot be located. The creator dies, the publisher shuts down, the distributor left. But the copyright remains.
Sadly, since its the Irish government, its released as a pdf file, but laws shouldn't be copyrightable. The deadline for comments is Wednesday April 23 2014.
Comments go to the "Orphan Works Consultation, Copyright Section, Intellectual Property Unit, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation", not me.?
DJEI – Intellectual Property Unit: Copyright and Related Rights
Public Consultation on Transposition of the Orphan Works Directive and the Use of Orphan Works under Irish Law. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation invites submissions to the public consultation on the transposition of the Orphan Works Directive (2012/28/EU) into Irish law.
The event is being organised by Damien Mulley, a blogger turning in to game maker. After all, he’s giving away his marketing advice. All of it sensible, none of it shocking. Except for the shock of the “new”. It’s not rocket sience, its people.
You do know how to talk to people, right?
Sometimes I wonder. I’m interested in listening to the PR and marketing folk (know your enemy and all that). I’ve learned that badly done cold pitching is frequently badly done. E-mailing out all the information with a “oh, this is embargoed” tag at the end. Blindly following the “tags” in the contact database, rather than making their own in a targeted area (blame the list makers if you will).
PR and marketing is changing. Social media (and I’ll include blogging in this pile) is about conversation. Two way communication. Think about a journalist forming contacts in particular areas. A go-to gal on tech issues. An agony uncle on relationship issues. Making contacts who can help. Thats where PR is heading. Its going to be hard work, but bloggers aren’t scary most bloggers aren’t scary.
And when the 532-page ebook is free, I suspect that the author is trying to be very correct and get his point across. Partly to stop himself being sued by George Lucas no doubt. The book is question is The Secret History of Star Wars which skews from the Lucasfilm version of history.
According to the “Frequently Asked Questions” part of the book’s site, Michael Kaminski wrote the book to fill the perceived knowledge gap (or at least lore gap) between the observed history from the fan’s perspective, and the official history according the Lucasfilm.
To be honest, I don’t care enough about the politics of the Star Wars movies (or the Jedi religion) to be worried, about the book’s content. But the existence of the book is interesting.
Essentially this book is a compiled collection of sources to create a history of the creation of six highly influential movies; a series which continues to generate controversy. And is of course unauthorised.
When an unauthorised biography is compiled, the person at the heart of it can sue for liable, as long as the accusations (if any) in the book are false). This book is not about George Lucas, but about the creation of a series of products. Which means that is possible to sue for copyright violations in much the same way that a lawsuit was perused against the creators of a printed Harry Potter Lexicon (which was settled out of court). Its not just reputation at stake here, but a multimillion empire. By being a free download, the author manages to avoid at least part of the consequences (financial gain) and given that this 3rd edition of the book came after the above settlement, it is possible that a few discrete alternations may have been made to prevent the “too much of my work” arguments.
There are of course two reasons as to why Lucasfilm has not sued.
1) Suing your fans is not a good idea; you need them
2) Lucas has a Pirates Dilemma problem. Yes its is a derived work, but its taken the history of the series in a direction which LucasFilm never would. While they are unlikely to support it, it would be a bad idea for them to try to destroy it. Because its something they can build on (or at least with).
Could someone who cares about the series and can confirm the truth of any of the books details contact me? Also in the unlikely possibility that someone from LucasFilm is reading this, is there an official response to the book? I can confirm that the author cares enough about copyright to disable copying and pasting from the PDF file.
Still behind the scenes shenanigans are always interesting.
p.s. I’m waiting for The Secret History of the Babylon 5 series (or at least the collected Hyperion archives). Have I missed them?
“I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.
In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics: Plagiarize!
Let no one else’s work evade your eyes,
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
So don’t shade your eyes,
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize…
Only be sure always to call it please, ‘research’”. — Tom Lehrer (MP3)
Lobachevsky and Lehrer both work in mathematics… a hard science. And simply put, you can’t copyright a fact.
Think about it. What colour is the sky on your planet? “The sky is blue” is a fact and not copyrightable. The line “well, I’m from Ireland so it’s mostly overcast grey” is opinion, and so is copyrightable.
If you publish a non-fiction book, then you are stating that everything in it is fact. If someone then used the facts in your book as a basis for fiction, you shouldn’t be able to sue. If its a history (or even a pseudo-history) book, then your “plot premise” is probably re-producable without you getting a penny.
However is large chunks of your text have been copied (and not text attributed from another source) then you have a stronger case.
So, if you are going to steal off someone, it is better to take the facts and then reproduce it in your own words.
What about fair use… well let me put it this way, if you take content form another site, make the entire chunk a link. If your post, article, whatever is almost entirely a link… you have breached fair use.
Unless of course you do something to turn it (or them) into a completely different work. Think Andy Warhol and his soup cans. Think any of those music mashups you can think of. Usually it forces you to listen to the sources with fresh ears.
Or think about it creatively. Take other peoples footage from across the world and edit it in to a cheap music video to make a point like Sarah McLachlan does in “World on Fire”
Or mix together 32 songs and 28 different dance routines to make something humorous (laugh-out-loud in places) like Judson Laipply does with “The Evolution Of Dance”.
The Magna Carta is now available in the Project Gutenberg site. This is eBook 10,000. Of course with all the extensions on copyright expirations I’m suprised it could be put online.
Incidentally, there is a Project Gutenberg Australia [gutenberg.net.au] which has quite a few works online which are still under copyright in the United States but not in Australia. Those seeking works more recent than 1923 or so might find it worthwhile taking a look there.