(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Monday, April 28, 2003

in which I whine about copyright again
The internet's leading site on Krazy Kat has had a nice facelift. Go check it out, I recommend. But while you're there, please notice how authoritatively -- and, to my understanding, how completely falsely -- King Features asserts that every bit of the art there is under a currently-enforceable copyright, in that you're not allowed to copy or transmit it without their permission. Even the stuff on this page, for instance, which is admitted to be from 1919 and thus (to my understanding) in the public domain now. And indeed they claim that all the characters are (c) 2003, thus suggesting (if anyone really believes that) that Krazy and Ignatz wouldn't be in the public domain til the 22nd century I suppose.

If anybody who knows more about copyright than I do (and there are plenty of such people) can tell me that there is a plausible basis for asserting that a drawing done in (and published in newspapers in) 1919 can still fall within copyright protection, or for asserting that characters who have existed in published works since then can be said to be copyrighted anew this year -- please let me know. If I didn't have too much to do already, I'd think about filing a declaratory judgment action. [And if you are reading this on behalf of King Features and are thinking of squashing me like a bug, please see the ends of these prior posts.]

posted by sam 7:15 AM 0 comments


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