« London's New Congestion Charge | Main | McDonald's, Obesity, and Common Sense »

Sadly, a Prediction Comes True

At the end of last year, I wrote an entry about the wonderful Peanuts tarot deck. At the end of the entry, I wrote:

It would be great to have a real set of these. Of course, given the state of copyright these days, we'll be lucky just to see this site stay up a week.
I don't know if they stayed up for a week, but they're gone now. The site now reads:
...well, folks, I used to have an elaborate tarot deck here featuring some famous cartoon characters, but the owners of the copyrights of those cartoon characters asked me to take them down, and I did so.
Did the writers of copyright law anticipate the enormous imbalance when a powerful media conglomerate exerts pressure on an individual? The Peanuts tarot deck seemed like non-commercial satire to me, but if I was the creator, and received a cease-and-desist letter, I'd probably do exactly what the person did in this case -- take the materials down to avoid a lawsuit.

In addition to the necessary reforms proposed by Larry Lessig and others, we need a leveling of the playing field for copyright disputes. It's unreasonable for a copyright holder to abuse its power to shut down individual works it considers infringing simply by dint of its size, with no reference to the validity of its case. Perhaps something akin to Small Claims Court, with lawyers disallowed and proceedings limited in length? I don't know. I just know that the system today is unfair.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment