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Old 07-22-2003, 02:24 AM   #1
Jenred
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Abattoir MUD advertisement:
"Not with ten thousand men could you survive the Abattoir. It is folly."

A line from LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring, both book and movie:
Boromir : One does not simply walk into Mordor. It's black gates are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the Great Eye is ever-watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly!

Anyways, I thought it was funny at first. Using a line from a famous book and movie to bring people to their MUD, then I thought maybe illegal, but then I thought of other marketing schticts used to advertise... like "Got MUD?" Instead of "Got Milk?"

anyways...
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Old 07-22-2003, 04:05 AM   #2
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IANAL, but I doubt this is illegal. It might be tacky and trite, but not illegal.
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Old 07-22-2003, 05:50 AM   #3
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It's tacky, it's trite, and I came up with the idea. It's also quite clearly fair use, given the following common criteria:

1. The purpose and character of the use - it's being used in parody, which is protected under US, UK, and maybe international law. It is clearly paraphrased to make this clear. See also: Bored Of The Rings
2. The nature of the copyrighted work.
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. - The proportion of text used in relation to The Fellowship Of The Ring (screenplay, book, or movie) is minimal.
4. The effect of the use on the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work. - Nobody is going to be having fun reading our banner instead of watching FotR again, thus losing New Line millions of dollars.

Also taken into consideration would be the fact that we are a non-profit entity (Diku license).

I wish people would do a little more research on laws before accusing everything that is the tiniest bit derivative of being 'illegal'.
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Old 07-22-2003, 07:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
Also taken into consideration would be the fact that we are a non-profit entity (Diku license).
That would only be taken into account when assessing damages, not whether or not what you did was protected by fair use.
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Old 07-22-2003, 08:03 AM   #5
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Not entirely true. Copying done for a profit has obvious implications for the 4th clause above, as well as the 1st (the full version being "(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;"... my mud clearly falls somewhere in between. I also quote from the Wikipedia that "If it is obvious that the user is attempting to make a profit from the use, then it suggests that it is more likely that the use is infringement."
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Old 07-22-2003, 08:21 AM   #6
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Incorrect. Educational use is an explicitly defined special case. As Wikipedia points out, profitable use suggests that infringement is more likely because if that use is profitable, it is highly likely (if not guaranteed) that the owner of the copyright in question could have made those profits him/herself. Non-profit non-educational use, however, is provided no special protection whatsoever.
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Old 07-22-2003, 08:27 AM   #7
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And I never intended to imply that it did, only that it is a factor in how a judge may decide such a case if previous cases didn't dictate the result.
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Old 07-22-2003, 09:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
And I never intended to imply that it did, only that it is a factor in how a judge may decide such a case if previous cases didn't dictate the result.
Again, it does not factor in at all. Non-profit use is not an affirmative defense against a charge of copyright infringement. For-profit use is more likely to be infringing, but whether or not a given use is for profit or not has no bearing on whether or not a given action is infringing. In other words, there is a correlation between for-profit use and a higher likelihood of copyright infringement, but the relationship is not causal.
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Old 07-22-2003, 09:56 AM   #9
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You are disagreeing with several online sources I found today, and assuming I said things that I didn't. (eg. I never claimed it was an 'affirmative defence', merely that it would be a factor in a judge's appraisal of a different defence, as clearly stated in guidelines 1 and 4.) However I have no wish to continue to debate this single point as it's not really relevant in my case.
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Old 07-22-2003, 10:55 AM   #10
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Moved to the Legal Issues forum due to topic change.
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Old 07-22-2003, 01:29 PM   #11
 
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Not with 10,000 lawyers could you make a legal case out of that. It is folly. It is frivolous and it isn't the law.
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Old 07-22-2003, 02:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
I wish people would do a little more research on laws before accusing everything that is the tiniest bit derivative of being 'illegal'.
If people would read what I first wrote, I said:
"At first I thought Illegal, then thought about many other marketing schticts that do similar things etc." I was saying it was funny at first, then maybe I thought illegal, then I thought no. So stop thinking I'm like accusing you or whatever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
1. The purpose and character of the use - it's being used in parody, which is protected under US, UK, and maybe international law. It is clearly paraphrased to make this clear. See also: Bored Of The Rings
Parody... hmm:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule.
This doesn't really provide a comic effect, or ridicule it. Because the state of the advertisement doesn't tell what the Abattoir is, or who is even saying it. If the Abattoir was some sort of raunchy prostitute and the person saying it was a drunk sailor to his friend while sizing up the woman in the bar, then yes. It might be a parody. But the way the advertisement is portrayed, its not a parody. So scratch that excuse.

No one knows who or what the Abattoir is if they are reading the advertisment for the first time with no clue about the MUD. I would think it some dungeon, or evil land. Like the place it was being substituted for in the original line.

Anyways, its not really comidic, not parodying anything because no one knows the situation that the statement is taking place in because the advertisement is too short to display such.

All in all it seems to be a cheesy way to draw people in using a line from a current movie at the time.
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Old 07-22-2003, 02:42 PM   #13
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Oh, and another thing. If you realize this started in: Mud Humor.
Because my intial thinking was: How lamely funny.

I didn't put it in the legal discussion because it wasn't like: Someone sue these guys please!

Anyways, but the point was entirely missed I guess.
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Old 07-22-2003, 06:17 PM   #14
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Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases.
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Old 07-22-2003, 08:49 PM   #15
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KaVir:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases.
Correct. But, the copyright isn't protecting the phrase, it's protecting the book. To use any portion of the book, including short quotes, you have to argue that you're licensed to do so or that it's fair use. I don't believe there's a "small excerpt for any use you want" exemption, and this is clearly not review, commentary, or parody. It's an ad. IANAL, but I don't think it's permissible to lift memorable phrases from creative works and use them in advertising.

Is the ad attempting to leverage off of the public recognition of Tolkien's work? Clearly, yes. Is that one of the primary danger signs for thinking about using something that you are not completely responsible for creating? Yes.

Is it actionable? Who knows. Straight copyright might not even be the only claim: there are plenty of laws against obnoxious advertising practices anf general tort laws.

Stilton
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Old 07-22-2003, 09:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
You are disagreeing with several online sources I found today, and assuming I said things that I didn't. (eg. I never claimed it was an 'affirmative defence', merely that it would be a factor in a judge's appraisal of a different defence, as clearly stated in guidelines 1 and 4.)
What you're saying is the definition of an affirmative defense: An explanation for a defendant's actions that excuses or justifies his behavior.

Claiming protection under the fair use provisions in copyright law is an affirmative defense. Claiming that a work is a parody of the copyrighted material in question is valid justification for a fair use affirmative defense. Claiming that because your use is not profitable it is fair use is an attempt to use that as an affirmative defense, whether you are aware of it or not, but there is no legal basis for such, therefore it is entirely invalid.
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Old 07-22-2003, 10:35 PM   #17
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Woo! I am so relieved we've finally got a lively discussion topic about intellectual property and copyright law. I thought this day would never come!

...

Oh, that's right, we just endured 30+ pages of it recently! Some folks just can't get enough, I guess.

Enjoy, armchair lawyers!
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Old 07-22-2003, 11:59 PM   #18
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Just what we need, a thread that is always on the recent discussions that nobody pays attention to.

Enjoy fellow sarcasm slingers.
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Old 07-23-2003, 10:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jenred @ July 22 2003,13:40)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule.
This doesn't really provide a comic effect, or ridicule it.

...

No one knows who or what the Abattoir is if they are reading the advertisment for the first time with no clue about the MUD. I would think it some dungeon, or evil land. Like the place it was being substituted for in the original line.
How can you claim in your first post that "I thought it was funny at first" and then now claim "This doesn't really provide a comic effect"?

And just because someone doesn't know what the Abattoir is (which would be pretty unlikely, given the context in which our ads appear), doesn't make it any less of a parody.
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Old 07-23-2003, 10:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Stilton @ July 22 2003,19:49)
I don't believe there's a "small excerpt for any use you want" exemption, and this is clearly not review, commentary, or parody. It's an ad.

...

Is it actionable? Who knows. Straight copyright might not even be the only claim: there are plenty of laws against obnoxious advertising practices anf general tort laws.

Stilton
Adverts have used parody for many years, and will continue to do so. I'm sure that if being an advertisement lost you the parody defence, then someone would have sued someone else long ago and put an end to it. In fact, they tried, and failed. http://www.commondreams.org/views/091300-102.htm

As for "obnoxious advertising practices"... what? I think you're being ridiculous here.
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