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    • I'm generally opposed to imposing liability for user generated content on websites. The way I read the proposed EU articles seemed pretty draconian about what content websites are expected to police. To use an example, I'm not sure many websites would want to roll the dice and host game streamers doing commentary over gameplay.

      One of the other issues is it contributes to a fracturing effect of the Internet. Europe keeps creating more boundaries to the European market including this and GDRP regulatory schemes. Eventually it's not going to be worth it for smaller entities to put in the effort to enter the European market.

      I think the US has a good thing going with Section 230 protections for content hosts even though some courts seem to be taking a machete to it.

      I haven't followed Article 13 super closely so take my opinion with a margarita rim of salt.

      If you want a more connected opinion about Article 13, one of the European MEPs from Estonia did an AMA about it today:

    • My question is it's become a thing to name companies with real words like Slack, Lime, Bird... What are the copyright ramifications? When we started with Cake there was the band in Sacramento, Cake php, but nothing that seemed major in our space at the time. While we were in development some other firms adopted the name.

      Do you advise companies to pick something more like Airbnb?

      Your question is more about trademark law than copyright law. Those are all pretty decent names because they're arbitrary. The USPTO looks at trademarks on a scale including fanciful (XEROX), arbitrary (APPLE for sale of computers), suggestive (COPPERTONE for sunscreen), and descriptive marks. Fanciful marks are the strongest and are made up terms and arbitrary marks are the next strongest where the mark is unrelated to the goods and services offered.

      The marks you picked are all pretty good because they're all arbitrary. I always advise people to lock down their trademark rights early. There's nothing more heartbreaking that building a strong brand only to discover someone else filed a trademark application and now there's an urgent need to rebrand.

    • @orangejulius What's your take on the Oracle v. Google case regarding whether a software API is protected by copyright?

      As a programmer, I was shocked by the 2014 appeals court ruling that APIs are protected by copyright. To say that the originator of an API has the sole right to implement that API feels to me like saying that the inventor of the haiku has the sole right to write haikus. From my perspective, it's an obvious absurdity that could wreak havoc in the software industry.

      But clearly a few judges disagree with me, which makes me wonder whether I have a flawed understanding of how copyrights work (wouldn't surprise me) or they have a flawed understanding of software (also wouldn't surprise me).

    • So with 2019 being the first year since 1988 to actually have some works have their copyright expire and enter the public domain in the US, do you think we'll finally see the end of "Mickey Mouse Protection" scheme?

    • Hi Brian! I have a question about artwork. I do a lot of pixel art of athletes and often use other people’s photos as source material for my concepts. If I ever sell prints of the artwork, I try my best to manipulate and collage together the pose, change the colors, change the background so it’s not the same as any one photograph, but I’ve always been curious about how much an artist needs to “change” the image for it to be considered safe from infringement? I often see paintings of athletes that are sold and are clearly from other photographs, for example.

      In the example below, I used a photograph by Jimmy Chin as a source material for a pixel art piece that I drew by hand (in photoshop). Because it’s pretty similar to the original photo, I fully credited the photographer when I posted this to Instagram and don’t sell prints of this particular piece because I didn’t want to infringe on copyright. Was I right to assume this? I’ve always been curious about where that line is. It seems vague and ambiguous. Do you have any insight on these issues?