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Old May 22nd, 2013, 06:53 PM
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Default Recent 'Caption for the Motivational Vargr' - Credit where credit is due

I'm pulling my latest Motivational parody picture because I found out those pics are actually of a dog named Bodhi and are from a blog called Menswear Dog. They're not Photoshop'd. Except the one in the space suit.

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Every model would tell you that working a camera is no easy task – but this poser makes it look effortless. Meet Menswear Dog, a super cute 3-year-old Shiba Inu dog from New York. Fashion designer Dave Fung and graphic designer Yena Kim chose him as a model for their Tumblr fashion blog Menswear Dog, where Bodhi wears and showcases a variety of stylish outfits. From street style to hipster to smart casual – the photogenic dog seems to always find an appropriate expression and angle to make the photos look great.
“His interests include never washing his selvage denim, lurking around Soho for someone to notice his steez, and sniffing fine a$$ bitches.”
Check it out. Now that's a real Vargr. I think we should adopt him as CotI's mascot.

http://mensweardog.tumblr.com/

I accidentally found the picture on a Google search for something completely unrelated and totally thought they were Photoshop'd. Which is actually ok as the posts we make are a parody of the Motivational posters (and thus a parody of the pictures themselves). Although we really should be using the Demotivator for our 'Caption' responses to make it more legit. It's all covered under the 1st Amendment. But I'll make sure I link to the Demotivator from now on. Technically, we don't need permission as long as it's a parody.

But I want to get permission from these folks so there isn't a chance of hard feelings or anything else.

And I definitely have to give credit where credit is due.

That's a good dog!
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Last edited by Spinward Scout; May 23rd, 2013 at 07:19 AM..
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 07:10 AM
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The blackletter parody clause was deleted between 1990 and 2004... I'm not certain when... but Parody as a protected exception isn't actually blackletter law that I can find anymore. (I had to read the statutes/CFR in 1990 as part of a copyright coverage in my undergrad in Music. When I looked again, in about 2004, that clause was explicitly redacted.)
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by aramis View Post
The blackletter parody clause was deleted between 1990 and 2004... I'm not certain when... but Parody as a protected exception isn't actually blackletter law that I can find anymore. (I had to read the statutes/CFR in 1990 as part of a copyright coverage in my undergrad in Music. When I looked again, in about 2004, that clause was explicitly redacted.)
By "blackletter, I presume you mean specifically protected. There appears to still be some form of protection for parody as it is still occuring, but making sense of law is sometimes tricky.

(Caveat: I'm not a lawyer.)

17 USC 107: "Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
"(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
"(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; and
"(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
"The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors"

Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music: "Section 107 ... continues the common law tradition of fair use adjudication and requires case by case analysis rather than bright line rules. The statutory examples of permissible uses provide only general guidance. The four statutory factors are to be explored and weighed together in light of copyright's purpose of promoting science and the arts ... Parody, like other comment and criticism, may claim fair use. Under the first of the four §107 factors, 'the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature . . . ,' the enquiry focuses on whether the new work merely supersedes the objects of the original creation, or whether and to what extent it is 'transformative,' altering the original with new expression, meaning, or message. The more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use. The heart of any parodist's claim to quote from existing material is the use of some elements of a prior author's composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author's work."

Parody is protected, but not reflexively. You have to show a substantial change from the original, bringing a new message or meaning to the audience (such as occurred in that book that retold Gone With The Wind from the slaves' perspective, or such as occurs regularly on Jon Stewart's Daily Show). There've been cases where works were not judged sufficiently different to qualify for parody protection.

As to whether this specifically is protected - I have to think that taking the man's work and seeking funny captions under the assumption that they are Vargr from a far future roleplaying game would qualify as fair use in this context: it evolves a substantial change, it does not affect the original's commercial value, and your work is not of a commercial nature. Try to market it though, and you might run into some problems; he can then argue that you're making money off of his labor and that your work potentially competes with his.

Besides, I'm not sure there's much of a market for Vargr motivational posters outside of the Vargr Extents.
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 10:58 AM
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Ooh, had to add this in - 'cause you know I just like rambling and muddying waters:

Dr. Seuss Enterprises v. Penguin Books, a case where a publisher used the Cat-in-the-Hat theme to parody the O.J. Simpson trial, appeals court found for Dr. Suess Enterprises and against the publisher basically because, while it was a clever parody of the Simpson trial, it was NOT a parody of Dr. Suess's Cat in the Hat. They borrowed his images and themes, but because they were using it to comment on another work instead of parodying his work, they were guilty of a copyright and trademark violation.
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlobrand View Post
They borrowed his images and themes, but because they were using it to comment on another work instead of parodying his work, they were guilty of a copyright and trademark violation.
That's an interesting point.

1. We're parodying the Motivational posters
2. We're parodying the Vargr - using a picture of a dog in a humorous representation of the character/species from the game. Especially ones that don't look like a 'typical' Vargr.
3. Are we parodying the picture itself?

I think we are as I chose the picture because I already think it looks humorous in some way. If the picture is innocent and not intended to make me laugh to begin with, then the process does transform the original intention of the photographic work. I think using it as a humorous representation of a Vargr from the game transforms it enough. It's kinda like talking cats. Cats don't really talk, so a talking cat transforms the original intent of the picture in a humorous way. Both the wording of the text and the fact that cats don't talk can be humorous. The fact that a dog really isn't a Vargr is just funny to me. I am poking fun at the dog in the picture AND the Vargr at the same time.
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Spinward Scout View Post
That's an interesting point.

1. We're parodying the Motivational posters
2. We're parodying the Vargr - using a picture of a dog in a humorous representation of the character/species from the game. Especially ones that don't look like a 'typical' Vargr.
3. Are we parodying the picture itself?

I think we are as I chose the picture because I already think it looks humorous in some way. If the picture is innocent and not intended to make me laugh to begin with, then the process does transform the original intention of the photographic work. I think using it as a humorous representation of a Vargr from the game transforms it enough. It's kinda like talking cats. Cats don't really talk, so a talking cat transforms the original intent of the picture in a humorous way. Both the wording of the text and the fact that cats don't talk can be humorous. The fact that a dog really isn't a Vargr is just funny to me. I am poking fun at the dog in the picture AND the Vargr at the same time.
I'd say you were merely using the artwork for an unrelated purpose. It doesn't rise to parody - it's not making fun of the art nor the artist.
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Old May 23rd, 2013, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by aramis View Post
it's not making fun of the art
I think it's inherently poking fun at the art. That's the whole thing with the LOLCat/talking cats and Demotivational posters. I think what we've been doing is in addition to that. We're poking fun at the dog by pretending to make it a talking dog, and we're poking fun at the Vargr and/or Traveller by pretending the talking dog is a Vargr.

It's accomplishing both, I think.

If I put a pic of a lion up with a caption that said: "I CAN HAS FGMP?", other people might not get it, but we would know exactly what it was talking about. We would be poking fun at the lion by making it a LOLCats meme as well as poking fun at Aslan or Traveller.

I think it has to be poking fun at the photographic art itself. Otherwise, I think the LOLCats or Demotivational posters wouldn't be valid, either.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
I'd say you were merely using the artwork for an unrelated purpose. It doesn't rise to parody - it's not making fun of the art nor the artist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spinward Scout View Post
I think it's inherently poking fun at the art. That's the whole thing with the LOLCat/talking cats and Demotivational posters. I think what we've been doing is in addition to that. We're poking fun at the dog by pretending to make it a talking dog, and we're poking fun at the Vargr and/or Traveller by pretending the talking dog is a Vargr.

It's accomplishing both, I think.

If I put a pic of a lion up with a caption that said: "I CAN HAS FGMP?", other people might not get it, but we would know exactly what it was talking about. We would be poking fun at the lion by making it a LOLCats meme as well as poking fun at Aslan or Traveller.

I think it has to be poking fun at the photographic art itself. Otherwise, I think the LOLCats or Demotivational posters wouldn't be valid, either.
And this would be why we have courts.

The first question the law asks is whether the use is commercial or other, the last question is the financial impact on the copyrighted work. The reason for that is that parody is sometimes a subjective and debatable quantity: one man's parody is another man's Legos cashing in on the Star Wars phenomenon. The Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music decision arose in the context of one company believing another company's mutation of the Pretty Woman song was nothing more than cashing in by borrowing a very recognizable and popular melody for their own use, a not uncommon but controversial musical trend at the time. To the original copyright owners, it wasn't parody - it was someone making money by taking their famous musical "picture" and putting a new frame around it.

The courts set a very low bar for items that have negligible real-world impact, specifically for folk like us. Something like this, issued with no intent to profit and among a small audience, and following in the footsteps of an established medium of parody (the demotivational poster phenomenon), is likely to rise just high enough to pass muster. Let someone try to sell one, and it doesn't rise high enough.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Carlobrand View Post
And this would be why we have courts.

The first question the law asks is whether the use is commercial or other, the last question is the financial impact on the copyrighted work. The reason for that is that parody is sometimes a subjective and debatable quantity: one man's parody is another man's Legos cashing in on the Star Wars phenomenon. The Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music decision arose in the context of one company believing another company's mutation of the Pretty Woman song was nothing more than cashing in by borrowing a very recognizable and popular melody for their own use, a not uncommon but controversial musical trend at the time. To the original copyright owners, it wasn't parody - it was someone making money by taking their famous musical "picture" and putting a new frame around it.

The courts set a very low bar for items that have negligible real-world impact, specifically for folk like us. Something like this, issued with no intent to profit and among a small audience, and following in the footsteps of an established medium of parody (the demotivational poster phenomenon), is likely to rise just high enough to pass muster. Let someone try to sell one, and it doesn't rise high enough.
It's slippery slope for sure!

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In 1994 John Fogerty was sued for self-plagiarism after leaving Fantasy Records and pursuing a solo career with Warner Bros. Records. Fantasy still owned the rights to the Creedence Clearwater Revival library. Saul Zaentz, the owner of Fantasy, claimed Fogerty's song "The Old Man Down the Road" was a musical copy of the Creedence song "Run Through the Jungle." A jury found that "Old Man" was not derivative.[37] See Fogerty v. Fantasy. - wikipedia
Self-plagiarism... John Fogerty won, but it still cost him in time, money and aggravation.
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