Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Are there any copy rights left?

A while back, I linked to a couple of Youtube clips showcasing cartoonist Nina Paley and her reinterpretation of the Indian epic, Ramayana. Well, according to Question Copyright, the licensing fees demanded by the publishers of the 80-odd year-old blues numbers she's included in the film's soundtrack were so exorbitant as to all but kibosh the project, which has been three years in the making.

Ms. Paley is currently trying to raise money to pay back the loan she took out to cover the licensing fees. She's also given a 42-minute interview about the situation, which you can download from, or watch below.

In other news, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking public input on the contentious issue of Digital Rights Management, or DRM. For those of you watching in black-and-white, DRM is digital code applied to audio files which can make it difficult or impossible to move them from one device to another or to even simply play files that you've legally bought and paid for. Some content providers, most notably, include potentially-troublesome DRM in their proprietary audio files even if the author and publisher object to it.

The FTC's comment form can be found here. If you're going to be in Seattle on March 25th, 2009, you can comment in person at an FTC "town hall".

(Many thanks to for bringing these and other crucial issues to our attention, day after day!)

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