What does a dancing baby have to do with copyright? You might be surprised! It all started when a mother posted a brief video of her baby dancing to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" to share with family and friends. She received a takedown notice from the rights holder (Universal Music corp.) and her video was promptly removed from YouTube. But then she decided to fight back. A San Francisco Appeals Court just ruled that rights holders must think about whether or not a video is fair use before sending a take down notice.
Welcome to the Tech Committee Round-Up where we publish links to articles, videos, and other resources that the members of the Tech Advisory Committee would like to share with our community.
What Teens Really Think about Technology
This series of articles, all from Medium.com, provides a quick introduction to many popular websites and is a great segue into discussions of multiple perspectives. The final article discusses what viewpoints are left out of the first two articles and why these voices are often ignored when discussing technology trends.
http://www.studentreportinglabs.com/reports The Student Reporting Labs at PBS partners with middle and high school students to produce student-generated video reports on a variety of issues. In addition to educating students on a variety of topics chosen by their peers it has a curriculum on news and media literacy for teachers.
Social Networks and Social Sciences
http://www.radiolab.org/story/darwins-stickers/ The most recent episode of Radiolab explores the intersection between social media and social sciences. There are now more Facebook users than Catholics worldwide and this pool of data provides those in the social sciences with an enormous data set, but it also creates questions around the ethics of performing these tests on unknowing subjects. This additional article by Andrew Zolli explores the universality and evolution of human expressions through online 'stickers' (think more detailed emoticons) and what we can learn from the popularity of different stickers across the globe.
When a celebes crested macaque took this picture of itself, it set off a storm of publicity that would end in a ruling from the US Copyright Office.
It all started when nature photographer David Slater went to Indonesia to photograph a group of macaques. After the monkeys got used to his presence some bolder ones decided to grab his camera. Slater decided to set up the camera so that it would be prepared to get a good facial close up if another monkey grabbed his camera and eventually one did.
He enjoyed watching the macaque play with its new toy and while most of the pictures it took weren't very good, one where the monkey turned the camera on itself turned out fantastic. It was so great that it caught the eye of one Wikipedia volunteer editor who decided to upload it to the online encyclopedia. This added it to its Wikimedia Commons database of images to share freely.
The editor reasoned that because the monkey took the picture and only humans can own copyright the picture is therefore in the public domain (images that are free for anyone to use.) But David Slater disagreed. He argued that the monkey selfie never would have happened if he hadn't brought his equipment there, got the monkeys acclimated to him, noticed what they were doing, and set up the right lens, etc to get a good shot.
Slater asked Wikipedia to remove the image. After discussing the issue, the editors denied his claim. It is still available on wikimedia commons, credited to the unnamed macaque and listed as being in the public domain. The latest compendium of practices issued by the US Copyright Office says that it will not register works made by non-human animals and even specifically lists "a photograph taken by a monkey" in its examples.
What do you think? Should Slater own the copyright to the image because he arranged for the shot to be taken? Should pictures taken by monkeys belong to everyone? What might this mean for professional photographers and their incentive to produced shots like these? What might it mean for amateurs looking for media to freely remix? Let us know what you think in the comments.